Awards and Benefits

Our annual new venture competition – free to participate – boasts several benefits and resources including seed money (awarding $2 million since 2005), business planning support, mentorship, exposure, feedback from investors, access to exclusive events and professional connections. Past participants continuously say that this program furthers your idea and connects you with talented people who want to help you succeed.

Official 2020 prizes will be announced this spring - check back!



  • An opportunity to learn about resources available to entrepreneurs
  • Network with MN Cup partners, investors, and other entrepreneurs
  • A chance to improve the entrepreneur’s pitch and business plan
  • An invitation to attend a semifinalist reception at the Carlson School of Management, where they can meet other semifinalists, members of the review board, and MN Cup partners
  • The opportunity to be paired with a mentor with extensive entrepreneurial experience
  • Featured in December issue supplement of Twin Cities Business
  • Division Finalist Training - "Winning Investment Presentations" presented by Padilla
  • Detailed feedback of their final written entry and oral presentation
  • Opportunity to present their plan to prominent business leaders and investors

Division Prizes

$5,000 in seed capital

$30,000 in seed capital

  • Additional $50,000 in seed capital
  • The MN Cup, presented by David and Carolyn Cleveland

Grand Prize Runner-Up takes home $20,000

Special Prizes

  • DEED is offering two $10,000 prizes - one for the most innovative Greater MN Startup, and another for the top Woman of Color-led company Innovating in Tech.
  • Carlson Family Foundation will award $25,000 for the top women-led business and the top veteran-led business.
  • Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation will award $5,000 for top startup(s) from their region.
  • Meda will award $25,000 to the most innovative startup led by a Person of Color. 
  • Securian Financial Group will award $10,000 for an innovation that improves and enriches the lives of families and ideas that make it easier to put family first.
  • The Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship will award $10,000 for the Moonshot Award.

Contact MN Cup