History of MN Cup
The Minnesota Cup was founded in 2005 by entrepreneurs (and then Carlson School of Management MBA Students) Scott Litman and Dan Mallin. They transformed what was then a traditional business plan competition into something grander- open to the full state of Minnesota and funded through sponsorship from corporations and private gifts alike as a way to incentivize new business creation and connect entrepreneurs to functional expertise, mentorship and capital.
The competition has grown exponentially since that first year - to truly achieve the original vision and intent Scott & Dan articulated 15 years ago. Fueled by financial gifts, thousands of collective volunteer hours per year, the stewardship of the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship at the Carlson School, and the leadership of Director Jessica Berg, MN Cup continues to grow, improve, and seeks new ways to connect our vibrant entrepreneurial community to the resources they'll need to thrive.
MN Cup originally consisted of just two divisions, a student and professional division. As the competition has grown, new divisions have been added to reflect the most popular industries and niches. Each division receives its own prize money and is judged by a distinct group of volunteer judges - which bring a variety of experiences and perspectives from that industry to bear, and allow MN Cup’s evaluation to be both broad and deep.