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Innovative business ideas wanted

Minnesota entrepreneurs and inventors are encouraged to submit their innovative business ideas for the Minnesota Cup contest.

Participants in the ninth annual event will be competing for $200,000 in prize money for breakthrough business products or services in six categories.

The grand prize winner of last year’s contest, Julie Gilbert Newrai, took home $65,000 for developing PreciouStatus, a mobile application platform that allows daycare providers, hospitals and care facilities to communicate in real time with their loved ones.

“The Minnesota Cup is a tribute to Minnesota’s tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

“This event encourages innovative ideas that generate new jobs and businesses, contributing to the growth of the state economy.”

“Finalists from just the last four years have gone on to raise more than $60 million in capital to support the development of their ideas, create jobs and broker numerous business partnerships, collaborations and distribution agreements,” added Scott Litman, co-founder of the event.

Minnesota residents can submit their ideas for the Minnesota Cup in one of six categories: energy-clean tech, general, high tech, life science-health IT, social entrepreneur and student.

Each division winner will be awarded $25,000, with the exception of the student division ($10,000) and social entrepreneur division (up to $20,000). A grand prize winner chosen from the six division winners will collect an additional $40,000, and the runners-up in each division will each receive $5,000.

The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May. 17. Submissions must contain a description of the product or service, explanation of the market size or opportunity, sales and marketing overview, brief operating plan, and high level financial projections and assumptions.

Judging criteria and other details about the contest are available on the Minnesota Cup website at

The contest will conclude at the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota on Sept. 11, when division winners will present to a review board and the grand prize winner will be announced.