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The Competition

Entering MN Cup

The MN Cup annual new venture competition is for Minnesota entrepreneurs, researchers and inventors. Whether you are at the point of inception or already have created a company and are pursuing your breakthrough idea, this program is intended to provide support for you as an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs based in MN with less than $1 million in annual revenue are eligible to apply. We welcome back anyone who has previously entered who did not advance or those who made it to the semifinalist round of a prior competition. Finalists and winners submitting brand new ideas that are not associated with a previous entry can also apply.

MN Cup accepts applications each year beginning in late March. The application link will be available on MN Cup's homepage through the end of April. For the most up to date schedule, please view our Competitions Schedule page.

We encourage you to sign up for our distribution list to be notified of future opportunities. Send us an email at hellomncup@umn.edu.

The Application

MN Cup evaluates applications based on three primary areas - Opportunity, Plan and Progress. Each of these fields in our application has a 500 word limit, so your ability to succinctly and clearly explain your business idea is critical. You can view a sample application here (the application of 2015 Grand Prize Winner Astropad!) You also have the option to include financial projections, and an image or rendering of your product (if you are selling something tangible.) These components are not required, but can be helpful for our judges to understand your business concept. 

We have nine distinct sets of judges for each of our divisions - these individuals have a range of functional and industry expertise relevant to their respective division. They volunteer their time to review applications and attend events to support entrepreneurs in Minnesota - you can review the list of judges for your division here

MN Cup is a member of Forge North, and we’re partnering with other incubator and accelerator organizations to gather identical demographic and company information from all our applicants in 2019. This information will be kept strictly confidential, and shared and reported on in aggregate to better understand the range of stages, industries & needs of Minnesota entrepreneurs. These questions and their responses will not be used to evaluate your company with respect to MN Cup’s specific criteria or judging process, solely in aggregate alongside the responses of other entrepreneurs & startups from our partner organizations within Forge North.

Financial projections can be a helpful tool for your division judges to review alongside your responses to the Opportunity, Plan & Progress questions. Financial projections commonly predict your business income statement and funding needs over 3-5 years. If you opt to include this, please include assumptions for projected unit volume, unit economics, major expense categories and capital investments. If you’d like to see an example format for this document, we've included one here. You are not required to use this format (others may better suit your industry.) You are not required to include this document when you submit your application. 
 

You likely invited other team members to fill out their personal information, and those team members haven’t yet filled them out. Your application will display 100% complete as soon as all invited team members accept their invitation and complete their ‘Personal Information’ forms. 

MN Cup application launch
MN Cup Launch Party
Contact MN Cup