Minnesota’s seventh annual statewide business plan completion known as the Minnesota Cup officially opens its seasonal doors for business today.
Local tech entrepreneurs have until 11:59pm on May 20th to submit their venture for preliminary decision on June 10th (notified by June 13th) when a nine person review board will pick eight to ten semifinalists.
“The High Tech division of the Minnesota Cup seeks out, supports, and celebrates Minnesota’s technology-based economy. We are seeking entries in software and hardware (Web-based software, Web 2.0, etc.), networking, communications and wireless equipment and products. We also are looking for submissions in the innovative development and/or delivery of technology services, including consulting services, service providers and software as a service.”
The semifinalists will then be matched with mentors and final plans will be submitted on/before 11:59 pm July 22nd; the list is then further trimmed to three finalists chosen on August 16th (notified by the 19th). Ultimately, ten minute live pitches will be given to the review board and one high tech winner will be announced on August 30th.
“We want to keep the first round short and easy to get in…it’s four questions that are 400 words or less [in response] …basically a two to three page summary. All the core elements of a bigger plan are part of the entry submission, but we don’t want people killing themselves on a 20 pager if they’re not going to move forward. Ideally, they will move on in the competition, but if not, we’ve helped them work on having the right things to make a business plan for their business.” — Scott Litman, co founder, Minnesota Cup.
$25k is at stake for the division winner including a variety of supporting services and an unquantifiable amount of credibility + recognition. Division winners also proceed to compete against the six other divisions on September 8th for an additional $25k as part of the grand prize.
Shortly after last years victory, Duluth-based Geacom closed on 812k (in addition to a current $2.2m raise) for a life saving telecommunications device called Phrazer. 2009 division winner 8thBridge (formerly Alvenda) secured $5m from Split Rock Partners after their coronation and similarly captured a $10m second round of financing. Flight tracking technology firm Mobiata, winner in 2008, was recently sold to Expedia — although they are no longer a Minnesota-based company (MI).
In anticipation of today’s launch, we caught up with Minnesota Cup co founder and serial entrepreneur Scott Litman for a rundown of the history, some application advice, granular details and the future direction: