Every year, the MN Cup competition attracts a high volume of innovators and makers. This year’s competition had the highest turnout in the program’s history with more than 1,500 entrepreneurs participating.

“The Holmes Center is thrilled by the tremendous response to this year's MN Cup competition,” said MN Cup Director Melissa Kjolsing. “We're incredibly grateful to our 70-plus partners and sponsors who enable our growth and our 400-plus volunteers who make it possible for our program to support hundreds of entrepreneurs across the state.”

Here is a percentage breakdown of the applications by MN Cup division:

  • General: 29 percent
  • Social: 18 percent
  • Food/Ag/Beverage: 14 percent
  • High Tech: 13 percent
  • Life Science/Health IT: 9 percent
  • Energy/Clean Tech/Water: 5 percent
  • Student: 6 percent
  • Youth: 6 percent

Also, more women than ever are represented in the applications. Thirty-eight percent of the applicants are women-led teams, up from 33 percent in 2015 and 30 percent in 2014. That year saw the launch of the MN Cup’s Women’s Initiative, with the goal of improving application numbers for the competition. Over the last three years, MN Cup has hosted annual conferences, numerous meet-ups, and educational programming targeting women entrepreneurs leading scalable ideas and startups. This year, with the support and leadership of the Carlson Family Foundation, $25,000 will be awarded to the top competing woman-led startup.

More information about the MN Cup can be found on the EntreEd Blog, which is updated frequently.