Create an interconnected, sophisticated, supportive ecosystem for Minnesota's food and agricultural entrepreneurs and innovators that will enable them to scale their businesses faster
Be a central hub for resources, a mobilizing connector and ecosystem navigator. We drive intentional and strategic connections to resources, information, and individuals within our ecosystem of entrepreneurs and organizations so that the whole works stronger, smarter, and faster. We take elements of incubators, accelerators, networking organizations, and ecosystem organization from around the world to architect a thriving ecosystem that meets the needs of our growing community. We also act as a representative and champion for our ecosystem at cross-sector and industry events and conferences in Minnesota and across the country.
What Drives Us
Serving the entrepreneur. We want growth-oriented entrepreneurs to focus on scaling and sustaining their businesses... and not searching for answers or support. We believe that entrepreneurs and innovators play a fundamental and critical role in solving the challenges of our food system and we want to do everything we can to make their work possible.
Our mantra, "We want entrepreneurs in Minnesota to feel supported and get what they need in fewer clicks and coffees, and focus on what's important - growing their business."
WhO WE WORK WITH
We work with food and agriculture startups every day, listening and helping them connect to the resources and people they need to solve problems and grow their businesses.
CORPORATIONS, organizations & INSTITUTIONS
We develop programs to enable authentic engagement, skills-based volunteerism and mentorship in the ecosystem as well as trainings and events that bring industry -specific expertise to organizations that serve startups on the ground.
We think of the ecosystem as the organizations that support Minnesota's entrepreneurs as well as the entrepreneurs themselves. We drive collaboration, awareness, and maximize activities. We partner with organizations to build on their efforts as well as fill gaps.
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 - Grow North.
85 entrepreneurs featured in 20+ events with over 3,000 attendees in year one
100s of connections made
800+ attendees and 9 events at Grow North's Food and Agriculture track for Twin Cities Startup Week
~100 attendees at monthly educational events
~85% say they have learned something they will apply to their business
80% of attendees made connections with people who can positively impact their work