Entrepreneurs to compete for more than $150,000 in prizes.

The Minnesota Cup, a statewide contest designed to seek out, support, celebrate and promote Minnesota's newest and most innovative business ideas, is asking Minnesota entrepreneurs and inventors to submit their breakthrough business ideas to its website by May 20, 2011.

This year's competition offers more than $150,000 in prizes across six award divisions: High Tech, BioSciences, Clean Tech & Renewable Energy, Social Entrepreneurship, General and Student. A finalist from each division will be awarded $25,000, with the exception of the student division ($10,000) and social entrepreneur division ($20,000). The winners of each division will compete for an additional $25,000 grand prize.

  • 2009 and 2010 competition finalists have taken their Minnesota Cup experiences and gone on to secure more than $30 million in capital, create jobs and broker numerous business partnerships, collaborations and distribution agreements.
  • Since 2005, more than 5,000 participants from across Minnesota have entered the Minnesota Cup competition.
  • The Minnesota Cup has grown each year, and in 2011 contest organizers are pleased to announce a significant sponsorship from the global travel and hospitality giant Carlson, which becomes the newest lead partner of the Minnesota Cup.

"As past participants have attested, the real advantage of the Minnesota Cup is the experience of the contest itself," said Scott Litman, Co-founder of the Minnesota Cup.

"Each year, we strengthen our program to deepen the connection between budding entrepreneurs and the business community. All participants will emerge from the competition stronger than when they began. Advancing through the competition provides semi-finalists, finalists and winners resources that will help turn their business plans into viable business entities. Ultimately, our goal is to help grow the vibrant business community in our state."

The Minnesota Cup is supported by the University of Minnesota, Governor Dayton's office, the Department of Employment and Economic Development, Wells Fargo, the Arrowhead Growth Alliance and Carlson, representing a unique collaboration between academia, business and government.

"Carlson, an entrepreneurial start-up itself 73 years ago, is proud to help our next generation of entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market to ensure that our region maintains a robust economic environment and the high quality of life for which we are known," said Carlson Chairman Marilyn Carlson Nelson.

For complete contest rules and to submit your breakthrough business idea, please visit the Minnesota Cup website.