OWATONNA, Minn., April 6, 2016 – A collaboration of community builders, including Red Wing Ignite, Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), Lake City EDA, and the Blandin Foundation, have partnered together to host the annual Ignite Cup startup competition, including a new partnership with MN Cup. The Ignite Cup is the first annual event, and this year the winner will be an automatic semifinalist in the MN Cup.
The Ignite Cup is open to all entrepreneurs, investors, and community members who are focused on launching a startup and want to pitch their idea to an experienced panel for a chance to compete in the MN Cup or simply attend to network and learn more about business innovation. Local startups will be able to receive exposure, gain investor feedback, add regional connections, and will also be linked to the upcoming, nationally recognized MN Cup competition. All eligible startups will be able to compete by presenting their startup concept to a highly qualified board, which will choose the best pitch from the competition to move into the final rounds of the MN Cup.
“We are very excited about the new partnership between the community organizations and MN Cup. There are many big ideas that live within our communities. The Ignite Cup exists to bring a voice to some of the greatest minds in the area,” said Neela Mollgaard, executive director at Red Wing Ignite and organizer of the Ignite Cup.
“Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation has been a long-time supporter of the MN Cup competition, and we see the Red Wing Ignite Cup as a great way to foster greater representation from our part of the state” said SMIF Vice President of Economic Development Pam Bishop. “Southern Minnesota has always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit. The Ignite Cup is a chance to give a leg up to those looking to continue that tradition in our region.”
Hosted by Carlson School of Management, the MN Cup is the largest statewide business competition. Entrepreneurs from around Minnesota will come together to share their best ideas. Competition benefits include mentorship opportunities, business plan feedback, networking, media exposure, and $400,000 in available seed money. The startups will be broken into different divisions, with winners chosen within each field.
The Ignite Cup will take place Tuesday, April 26 at 6 p.m. at the Red Wing Ignite Innovation Center. For more information or to register for the event, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ignite-cup-startup-competition-tickets-21827392318. Startup competition participants must register by April 18. Minnesotans from all over the state are welcome to apply to pitch their business concept or attend to network and learn more about new innovative businesses.
About Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), a donor-supported foundation, invests for economic growth in 20 Minnesota counties. The Foundation has provided more than $97 million in grants, loans, and programming within the region during the past 30 years. SMIF's key interests include early childhood and economic development. To learn more about our work and mission, visit www.smifoundation.org.
About Red Wing Ignite
Red Wing Ignite is a community-funded innovation center. It provides a place where creative individuals can build their ideas. Red Wing Ignite enables entrepreneurship and technological innovation for the Red Wing community by offering collaborative space for co-working space and private offices, events to learn and connect, resources for all stages of businesses, regional and national networks, and gigabit Internet access. By bringing together like-minded entrepreneurs, investors and advisors, it creates a unique ecosystem for the Red Wing community to share ideas, resources, and expertise. This ecosystem, in turn, promotes local and regional economic development through new company creation and expansion. For more information, visit Red Wing Ignite’s on website or check them out on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.