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Minnesota Cup Announces Tasty New Division And Grander Prize Total!

The largest statewide new venture competition in the nation, the Minnesota Cup, is announcing a new category -- Food, Agriculture and Beverage -- for its 10th annual competition, launching in March 2014. It also is announcing a new prize total -- $300,000 -- for next year's winners.

The new division includes businesses focused on food products, food processing technologies, material innovation, ingredients technologies, agriculture innovation, food safety advancements and more. It joins the other six Minnesota Cup divisions: Energy/Clean Tech/Water, General, High Tech, Life Science/Health IT, Social Entrepreneur and Student.

The Minnesota Cup competition selects division finalists before awarding a grand prize to the best breakthrough business idea from across the state. Last year's winner, selected last September from almost 1,100 contestants, was Preceptis Medical, Inc. -- a medical device allowing ear tube procedures to be performed with reduced pain and surgical time for a pediatric patient.

In celebration of the new division, sponsors, judges and mentors gathered at the Mill City Museum on Thurs., November 14th. Past and future Minnesota Cup participants with a product or technology focused on the food industry attended for networking, to experience exhibits from food, agriculture and beverage entrepreneurs, and to hear remarks from the new division lead sponsor, 301, Inc. -- a new business development division at General Mills -- as well as Minnesota Cup representatives.

The category was added to emphasize the important role food plays, and will continue to play, in this state's economy. University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler recently highlighted food in his strategic plan calling for advanced research that contributes to local economic growth. "We want to position Minnesota as the 'Silicon Valley' of food, through research to produce a safe, secure, abundant, nutritious, and sustainable food supply."

"Minnesota has a rich history in food and agriculture-- and many hard-working Minnesotans still innovate in these industries today," said Scott Litman, co-founder of Minnesota Cup "Food and food-related businesses have always been a part of the Minnesota Cup, and adding a separate category allows us to target even more participants, and continue to grow the competition, further improving the climate for business growth in our state."

General Mills' 301, Inc. is sponsoring the new Food, Agriculture and Beverage division of the Minnesota Cup to help support innovation-fueled business growth across Minnesota. "We're thrilled to partner with the Minnesota Cup to create this new division," said John Haugen, vice president of new business development, General Mills. "We believe it will generate even greater opportunities for entrepreneurial discovery and advancement in the strong local food, agriculture and beverage industries." Many contest winners have found financial and entrepreneurial success through participation in the Minnesota Cup -- including 2012 grand prize winner PreciouStatus, which raised more than $1.5 million in funding in the year following its selection.

Photos from the new division kick-off event are below.

http://farnorthspirits.com/ Photo Credit: Danielle Dutcher
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Photo Credit: Danielle Dutcher
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http://zulajuice.com/ Photo Credit: Danielle Dutcher
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http://www.cooljerk.net/ Photo Credit: Danielle Dutcher
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http://gardenfreshfarms.com/ Photo Credit: Danielle Dutcher
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http://redheadcreamery.com/ Photo Credit: Danielle Dutcher
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Photo Credit: Danielle Dutcher
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http://www.wholeme.com/ Photo Credit: Danielle Dutcher
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http://www.nots-snacks.com/ Photo Credit: Danielle Dutcher
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http://mamamegs.weebly.com/ Photo Credit: Danielle Dutcher
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http://gardenfreshfarms.com/ Photo Credit: Danielle Dutcher
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Photo Credit: Danielle Dutcher
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