Resources for Minnesota Entrepreneurs

This week is National Entrepreneurship Week — we're marking the occasion with a list of some of MN's best resources for entrepreneurs

By Brian Martucci
Tuesday, February 23, 2016

It’s National Entrepreneurship Week! Across Minnesota (and the country), small business owners are sharing their stories and picking each other’s brains. In celebration, we put together a list of useful resources for North Star State visionaries. No matter your idea or where you’re at on the entrepreneurial journey, we hope they come in handy:

Minnesota Innovation Corps (MIN-CORPS)

The National Science Foundation-funded Minnesota Innovation Corps is supported locally by three University of Minnesota entities: Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship at the Carlson School of Management, the Office for Technology Commercialization and the College of Science and Engineering. Its mission: “to increase research-based technology commercialization capabilities and activities across the University of Minnesota.”

Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Opportunities

The Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Opportunities, based at the University of Minnesota Crookston, is northwestern Minnesota’s hub for aspiring entrepreneurs and ambitious small businesses. The Center’s full-spectrum programming and services “include, but are not limited to, marketing plans, business plans, website analysis, internet marketing strategies, human resource management, feasibility analysis, growth strategies, product and service development, supply chain analysis, market extensions, and other projects identified by regional companies.” Basically, everything you need to get your business idea off the ground. Plus, the Center networks with other business groups in the region and throughout the state, so if it can’t help you directly, it can probably get you in touch with people who can.

MN Cup

The Carlson School of Management’s MN Cup is Minnesota’s foremost early-stage business support group. Its centerpiece is an annual business idea competition that, its 12th year, is officially “the largest statewide startup competition in the country.” All participants receive business plan support and mentoring from established business leaders; finalists receive seed funding to commercialize their ideas. Since 2005, MN Cup winners have collectively raised $200 million in public and private funding.

National Association of Women Business Owners – Minnesota (NAWBO – MN)

The National Association of Women Business Owners’s Minnesota chapter is a top networking and mentorship resources for women business leaders in every stage of the business development cycle. NAWBO is committed to “representing the issues and concerns of women-owned businesses at the national, state and local levels” and is consistently at “the forefront of advocating on behalf of women business owners and the issues that impact their companies.”

MOJO Minnesota

MOJO Minnesota is “an innovation co-operative comprised of like-minded business leaders working to fuel entrepreneurship and reignite Minnesota’s culture of innovation.” Members include “business advisors, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors and attorneys,” all of whom share the goal of making Minnesota “a top five state” for technology entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneur Fund

Entrepreneur Fund is a business incubator and accelerator serving Duluth, the Iron Range and north-central Minnesota. Since the late 1980s, it has provided a wide range of business support services for “dislocated workers” affected by the region’s resource-driven boom-bust cycles — aiming to turn layoffs into sustainable job growth.

Social Enterprise Alliance Twin Cities

The Social Enterprise Alliance’s Twin Cities chapter is dedicated to supporting early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs that share a vision of a more sustainable and just future. SEA Twin Cities describes itself as an “active member-driven organization…for commercial nonprofits, social businesses, and educators who come together to promote financially sustainable social innovation through networking opportunities, educational forums, strategic partnerships, and impact legislation.”