Depart Smart is announced as a semifinalist in the 2016 Minnesota Cup competition. “Minnesota Cup” is a very prestigious competition of entrepreneurs who have a breakthrough idea and mean business. Over 10,000 startups have competed in 12 years of competition thanks to Carlson School of Management’s vision to create jobs and grow Minnesota’s innovation footprint.

Minnesota-based entrepreneurs who earn less than $1 million a year in revenue are eligible to participate. Contestants are initially selected through an online application. Semi-finalists will challenge each other for top performer with an elevator pitch, business plan, powerpoint presentation and one minute video.   

Depart Smart is an elite member of 80 finalists out of 1,500 entrants this year, qualifying for the semifinals in eight categories:

  1. Energy / Clean Water / Tech
  2. Food / Ag / Beverage
  3. General
  4. High Tech
  5. Life Science / Health IT
  6. Social Entrepreneurship
  7. Student (undergrad and graduate students)
  8. Youth (18 years and younger)

As a social entrepreneurship semifinalist, Depart Smart is invited to attend a semifinalist reception at the Carlson School of Management, and will be with two elite Minnesota entrepreneurial mentors.  

  1. A chance to do some critical thinking and refine your business or organization. Nothing brings out your best quite like competition.
  2. A chance to network. All of the participating organizations might have something to offer one another for future endeavors, and through Minnesota Cup, they now have a connection.
  3. Access to resources beyond mentorship, including exposure and feedback from investors and other thought-leading entrepreneurs. There are cash prizes for participants. Minnesota Cup has awarded $1.6 million in seed money since 2005.

Last year’s winner, Astropad, a technology tool that turns iPads and iPhones into graphics tablets, won a total of $80,000 and invaluable exposure for their product.

The next big milestone will be achieving at a position in the round. This year Minnesota Cup also offers top competing woman-led startup $25,000 through a partnership with the Carlson Foundation.  Our founder, Sheryl Hill, is aiming for to take this honor. Finalists automatically win a feature in the December issue of Twin Cities Business, detailed feedback on their presentations and materials and a chance to pitch their plans to prominent business leaders and investors.

Tech MN announces the big prizes like this, “After advancing past the first selection, in June, judges invite the top entries in each division to the semifinalist round, which begins in July. Selection for the final division occurs in August, when the category winners are announced. Each round advanced by competitors means opportunities to explore business ideas, gain exposure, learn about available business resources, be paired with MN Cup mentors, and meet members of the MN Cup Review Board.

The twelfth annual MN Cup will conclude with an awards event on September 22, 2016, at the University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center. At that event, the judges will announce a grand prize winner, chosen from the eight category winners — and that business will receive an additional $50,000 in seed capital.”
Learn more about how Depart Smart’s breakthrough idea can help you and those you love Depart Smart.  Follow us on social media to cheer our lifesaving work to success!