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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.

hormel-instituteIncubators 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 2020, Minnesota startups raised more than $1.8B in total venture capital through 130 deals, with a median deal value of $2.5M. And, when businesses start here, they are most likely to survive more than five years here. 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, we rank:

  • 1st in medical device patents per capita and 6th in overall patents per capita.

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.

Private industry and government pump about $1 billion each year into research and development projects that run the gamut of science and technology. 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 9th in R&D expenditures among public universities, with $1.04 billion in 2019.
  • Mayo Clinic had R&D funding of $929 million in 2020.
  • Medtronic had $2.3 billion R&D budget last fiscal year. The company ranks first for total R&D expenditure among Twin Cities-based med-tech companies.
  • 3M spent $1.96 billion in R&D expenditures (2021).

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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