Our Mission and Goals
Create an interconnected, sophisticated, invested, and accessible ecosystem for Minnesota's food and agricultural entrepreneurs and innovators that will:
- Enable them to grow and scale their businesses faster and more successfully in order to maximize the impact
- Make Minnesota a globally recognized leader in entrepreneurship and innovation in food and agriculture
- Transform our food system
Act as a mobilizing connector, creative spark, resource aggregator, and ecosystem navigator. This is a time of incredible change for our food system, and it requires new ideas, products, businesses, and models. Grow North is a hub that drives intentional and strategic connectivity to resources, information, and individuals within our ecosystem of entrepreneurs and organizations so that the whole works stronger, smarter, and faster. We take elements of incubators, accelerators, networking organizations, and ecosystem organizations from around the world to architect a thriving ecosystem that meets the needs of our growing community of problem solvers. We also champion our ecosystem at cross-sector and industry events and conferences in Minnesota and across the country.
What Drives Us
Serving the entrepreneur.
We want growth-oriented entrepreneurs and innovators to focus on scaling and sustaining their businesses... and not searching for answers or support. We believe entrepreneurs and innovators play a fundamental and critical role in addressing the challenges and opportunities in our food system and we want to do everything we can to make their work possible.
Serving our partners
We collaborate with organizations and leaders across Minnesota and around the world to maximize opportunity.
Serving our community.
Minnesota is a remarkable place and we work to strengthen and support this dynamic ecosystem of entrepreneurs, innovators, leaders and more as they solve problems, create new opportunities and move our food system forward.
Who We Work With
Entrepreneurs — We meet and connect with food, food tech, beverage, agtech, and innovative agriculture founders and startups, helping them connect to the resources and people they need to solve problems and grow their businesses.
Corporations, Organizations, and Institutions — We develop programs to drive connectivity and maximize the expertise that resides in Minnesota through education, mentorship, and networking events and programming. We also work with leaders across the country who are driving innovative ideas and supporting startup activity in food and agriculture.
The Ecosystem — We think of the ecosystem as the organizations and individuals that support Minnesota's entrepreneurs as well as the entrepreneurs themselves. We drive collaboration, awareness, and work to maximize other programs. We partner with organizations to build on their efforts as well as fill gaps.
What We Have Accomplished
Grow North is inspired by the Kauffman Foundation's ecosystem playbook to cultivate a thriving ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation. Since launching in 2017, Grow North has:
Hosted over 80 education, speaking and networking events and panels with over 90% of participants rating the content good/excellent.
Showcased hundreds of innovative entrepreneurs and industry leaders from Minnesota and across the country.
Facilitated hundreds of connections.
Launched signature programming including:
The Minnesota Mingle at Expo West with over 250 attendees and growing.
Quarterly invite-only investor event series with participation from investors across the country
Food Ag Ideas Week, a multi-day series of events and experiences to spotlight innovative ideas and leaders and drive intersections across the sectors with 25+ partners and over 1000 attendees each year.
Founding member of MBOLD, an initiative of industry leaders.
Presented at industry leading conferences around the world on ecosystem building and Minnesota's ecosystem.
Minnesotans. We love food. A lot. We love how it's grown, how it's made, and the people who do it. We've been at the center of food and agriculture innovation for over a century, growing small businesses into Fortune 500 companies and nurturing generations of entrepreneurial leaders to tackle new questions and challenges. We have companies and leaders across the entire supply chain and commercialization expertise to create, support and scale.
As interest in local food and rethinking agriculture has grown, our entrepreneur community has exploded. We have support organizations, government initiatives, University programs, investment groups, and more—all a part of a broader entrepreneurial ecosystem. Reflecting this, the MN Cup, the largest statewide early-stage venture competition in the country, started a food and agriculture division to support our growing food and ag community as well as showcase entrepreneurs and their ideas. In its inaugural year, over 60 new companies entered the competition. In the second year, this number jumped to over 80, and then 100. Everyone involved said,
“What More Can We Do?"
A group of leaders from many aspects of the food system came together and asked—What if we could drive connections and collaboration within the community? What if we could help problem-solvers scale their impact faster? What if we could join forces to maximize the efforts and truly support our growth and impact-focused entrepreneurs, innovators, and dreamers? What if we made an incubator virtual and democratized aspects of accelerators? What if we all worked together to put Minnesota on the map?
What if we made—Grow North.