Women's Initiative

MN Cup has an ongoing women's initiative to acknowledge and address the specific challenges and opportunities women encounter each day as entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors.   

Speaker at Front of Room
Women Networking at a Booth
5 Women Standing in front of MN Cup Backdrop








The current percentage of women entries for the MN Cup Competition is approximately 30%. These numbers are similar to nationwide data showing that less than 1/3 of businesses are owned by women. A more startling figure is that women-owned firms only employ 6% of the country’s workforce and contribute just under 4% of business revenues.

This is not simply a gender issue – it is also an economic issue.  A new study by the McKinsey Global Institute finds that the world economy could add trillions of dollars in growth during the next ten years if countries met best-in-region scores for improving women’s participation in the labor force. And, if pipeline numbers in corporations remain so bleak - maybe startups are the sector that can lead the way toward equal opportunity – for women and other underrepresented groups.

The 2016 Carlson Family Foundation prize for $25,000 for the top woman-led business was awarded to Asiya

Two Women Shaking Hands


The Power of WE: Women in Entrepreneurship

We are fortunate to work with several people and organizations that are passionate about seeing more women develop, scale and lead new ventures in Minnesota. We are channeling this energy and inviting more people into the conversation to raise awareness around the great people and resources that exist to support women entrepreneurs. When you see the following badge in an email signature, on a website and social media profile, it means that this person and/or organization invites and encourages women entrepreneurs to connect with them to access a larger network of support and resources.

If you believe in the WE and that connecting, supporting, including, and advocating for women entrepreneurs will help Minnesota’s startup community and economy, we invite you to share this image.  

Visit us at We-Start

MN Cup also has a minority entrepreneur initiative to acknowledge and address the specific challenges and opportunities that minority entrepreneurs face when trying to access capital, networks, and market opportunities. More information here.