Minnesotans. We love food. A lot. We love how it's grown, how it's made and the people who do it. We've been at the center of food and agriculture innovation for over a century, growing small businesses into Fortune 500 companies and nurturing generations of entrepreneurial leaders to tackle new questions and challenges.
As interest in local food and rethinking agriculture has grown, our entrepreneur community has exploded. We have support organizations, government initiatives, University programs, investment groups, and more - all a part of a broader entrepreneurial ecosystem. Reflecting this, the MN Cup, the largest statewide early stage venture competition in the country, started a food and agriculture division to support our growing food and ag community as well as showcase entrepreneurs and their ideas. In its inaugural year, over 60 new companies entered the competition. In the second year, this number jumped to over 80, and then 100. Everyone involved said,
“What More Can We Do?"
A group of leaders from all aspects of the food system came together and asked - What if we could drive connections and collaboration within the community? What if we could join forces to maximize the efforts and truly support our growth-focused entrepreneurs? What if we made an incubator virtual and democratized aspects of accelerators? What if we all worked together to put Minnesota on the map?
What if we made -