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Dynamic Innovation Ecosystem

Medical Device Patents Per Capita
Health Technology Cluster in the World
Food Products Patents Per Capita
Patents Per Capita

Investing in hometown talent is the right (and smart) thing to do

3m-collageBusinesses of the future are the startups of today. Our established businesses in Minnesota need a robust innovation ecosystem to provide the ideas and talent to continue to be global leaders.

We can make it possible for companies to grow right here in Minnesota and not feel they have to go elsewhere - and we want to promote innovative jobs and our innovation ecosystem in a coordinated way.

We are making it easier for emerging innovative companies to find answers and plug into resources across Minnesota.

Key to Minnesota's success is our tech-savvy workforce and our role as a creative idea incubator and patent powerhouse.

Incubators and Accelerators

Many of our largest companies are partners in accelerators and other startup programs. For example, Cargill and Ecolab support Techstars Farm to Fork accelerator, and Allianz and Securian Financial partner with gener8tor in OnRamp Insurance accelerator.

Our thriving technology startup scene also includes annual competitions and conferences that draw international audiences, such as:

  • In 2021, Minnesota startups raised more than $1.7B in total venture capital through 198 deals. And, when businesses start here, they are most likely to survive more than five years. Minnesota ranks 4th in the nation in 5-year business survival rate. That's because we complement investments with collaborative networks to support innovative startups and bold entrepreneurs.


Our patent and technology rankings speak to this culture of innovation and to our momentum. This is how we rank in patents per 1 million people:
  • 1st in medical devices
  • 1st in pacemakers
  • 2nd in food products
  • 2nd in water treatment
  • 4th in electrotherapy
  • 4th in plastics
  • 4th in water purification
  • 8th in chemical patents
  • 8th in machinery
  • 8th in sensors
  • 10th in data storage

By company, the largest number of patent registrations between 2010 and 2021 went to IBM (9,597), 3M (9,175) and Medtronic (5,331).

Innovation Rankings

Our high rankings are a testament to the creativity and passion for innovation. From patent registration to workforce in high-tech industries, Minnesota shines! This is how the state ranks:
  • 2nd in workforce in medical devices industries manufacturing (EMSI, 2021).
  • 3rd in workforce in navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing (EMSI, 2021).
  • 4th in technology and innovation (CNBC, Top States for Business, 2023).
  • 6th nationwide in workforce computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing (EMSI, 2021).

In 2020, the Milken Institute raised our rankings on two key metrics:

  • 6th in risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure, up from 21st in 2018.
  • 6th in technology and science workforce, up from 7th in 2018.

uofm-bannerResearch and Development

Minnesota is incredibly fertile ground for research and development innovation and success.

Businesses pump about $8 billion each year into research and development projects, according to the National Science Foundation. Public or private sector, much of the state's research is done in conjunction with the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic, both of which have established international reputations for their own research as well as their collaborations with government and the private sector.

Some examples of Minnesota’s successful R&D include:

  • The University of Minnesota ranks 13th in R&D expenditures among public universities, with $1.042 billion in 2020.
  • Mayo Clinic had R&D funding of $1.01 billion in 2021.
  • Medtronic R&D expenses for the twelve months ending April 30, 2022 were $2.8 billion, a 10.2% increase year-over-year. The company is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • 3M spent $1.96 billion in R&D expenditures (2021).

The State of Minnesota also invests in innovation, ranking 5th highest in R&D expenditures in transportation ($11.6 million) and 8th in agriculture ($5.5 million).

Launch Minnesota

launch-mn-grantees-partnersLaunch Minnesota, spearheaded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, is a statewide collaborative effort to accelerate the growth of startups and amplify Minnesota as a national leader in innovation. Through grants, tax credits, educational programming, and a statewide network, we're building efforts to help grow Minnesota's startup ecosystem.

Launch Minnesota Grants

  • Innovation Grants target the most promising, innovative businesses and technologies in Minnesota. These grants can be used to reimburse business expenses like research and development or technical assistance services.
  • Minnesota Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Matching Grants deliver technical assistance and funding to Minnesota firms so they can access federal investments.

Launch Minnesota Initiatives to Connect the State Startup Ecosystem

Minnesota Exchange: To ensure we’re connecting our state’s talented startup ecosystem, we’ve worked with partners to create the Minnesota Exchange, a statewide program to help entrepreneurs find the right connections at the right time in their startup journey. The platform connects startup founders, mentors, advisors, investors and subject matter experts to bring the right stakeholders together at the right time to accelerate the startup process and deepen relationships among startups and the ecosystem. The Minnesota Exchange is powered by Minnesota-based Kinetic, a local startup and Launch MN innovation grantee.

Regional Innovation Hubs: We connect Minnesota corner-to-corner by our first-of-its-kind hub and spoke model that brings together the state’s entire innovation ecosystem. The Regional Innovation Hubs connect six regions, eight hubs and over 80 program partners across the state.

MN Venture Builders: In collaboration with the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, we’ve built an entrepreneurial education platform. MN Venture Builders connects courses, competitions, seminars, mentors and connections to the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to early-stage technology entrepreneurs across the entire state.

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