MN Cup is the largest entrepreneurial competition of its kind.

“MN Cup is a contest, but it’s also a mentorship program,” MN Cup co-founder Scott Litman told Twin Cities Business. “All semifinal teams, even those who don’t take away the top award, are winning something very valuable – the chance to be coached by some of the most successful business leaders and entrepreneurs in the state.”

This year 1,661 organizations entered for a chance to win seed money, mentorships, and networking opportunities. Of more than 1500 organizations, 9 semi-finalists were chosen for each of the 10 divisions.

Our Depart Smart team tossed their hat in the MN Cup ring for a chance to grow the organization with Minnesota mentors to help even more people travel safely. We’re beyond thrilled that Depart Smart was named one of the finalists in the Impact Ventures division. To qualify for this division, an organization’s primary purpose must be a social mission aimed to have an impact on the critical challenges facing our society.

“It is so affirming to become a MN Cup Social Entrepreneur Finalist. We are grateful for the opportunity to enhance our strategic business plan and value proposition with collaboration and access to Minnesota thought leaders,” our Founder and Executive Director Sheryl Hill said in a Q&A On the MN CUP Blog at the Carlson School of Management,  University of Minnesota.

What does this mean for Depart Smart? It means we’re hard at work refining our business plan with our mentors Dr. Rajiv Tandon and Randall Olson.

Our mentors help us pivot from a focus on study abroad safety to employee safety. We intend to demonstrate how integrating travel safety skills and preparations into employee assistance programs to prepare workforces to depart smart so they return safe directly impacts bottom line!

Saving lives is the greatest reward.