Minnesota Cup hopefuls vie for $40,000 in startup, growth capital

Think of it as Minnesota’s Next Top Entrepreneur.

The deadline for entries in this year’s Minnesota Cup contest was Friday, May 21.

The sixth annual entrepreneurship invited Minnesota inventors to submit ideas in four areas: bioscience, high tech, clean tech, social entrepreneurship, as well as a general entrepreneurship and student category.

Minnesota Cup director Matt Hilker said he’s hoping this year’s contest will match or exceed the 1,100 participants who submitted entries last year.

Judges for each category will spend the next month choosing about half a dozen semifinalists in each category. Those entrepreneurs will then spend the summer developing in-depth business plans and presentations for a chance to win up to $40,000 in startup or growth capital.

“The biggest benefit, even more than the prize money, is just the exposure they get,” Hilker said. Judges include prominent and experienced entrepreneurs and investors.

The finalists from the 2009 Minnesota Cup have collectively raised more than $8 million in capital since September.

Last year’s winner was a Minneapolis app developer called Alvenda, which garnered the grand prize for an e-commerce tool that allows retailers to sell products directly from web banner advertisements.

Originally published May 26, 2010, by The Line Media.