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Seeking Funding for Big Ideas, MN Cup Education and Training Division Contestants Gather at ECMC Group

April 12, 2018

By Mai P. Tran, ECMC Foundation

MN Cup

More than 100 entrepreneurs and investment experts participated in a panel discussion at ECMC Group headquarters recently to generate visibility and interest for the new Education and Training Division of the Minnesota Cup (MN Cup). MN Cup connects and coaches early-stage ventures as they compete to be named the best new business idea of 2018. Winners receive prize money and mentoring from seasoned investors and coaches to launch and develop their idea.

ECMC Group and ECMC Foundation are the lead sponsors for the new Education and Training Division, which supports Minnesota entrepreneurs developing innovative business ideas for curriculum, technology, or services related to education, training, workforce, professional and personal development. 

“We at ECMC Group are excited by this opportunity to work with the Minnesota Cup to not only launch the new Education and Training Division but also to participate in the next generation of innovation in this space,” said Jeremy Wheaton, president and CEO of ECMC Group. “We look forward to collaborating with the entrepreneurs who are pioneering ideas that will benefit students for years to come.”

MN Cup

Left to right: Steve Wellvang, Educelerate North; Jeremy Wheaton, ECMC Group; Dave Goff, ECMC Group; Peter Taylor, ECMC Foundation

The event, facilitated in conjunction with Educelerate North, featured experts who provided ideas for generating funding for startups as well as serial entrepreneurs who offered lessons learned from their years starting their own companies.

One of the panelists, Venn Foundation’s founder Jeff Ochs, was a winner at last year’s MN Cup. Ochs’ team is now partnering with ECMC Foundation in its new program-related investment portfolio, Education Innovation Ventures.

In addition to Ochs, other panelists were Don Smithmier, The Big Know; Jeff Shelstad, Reflection Sciences and Flat World Knowledge; and Sara Russick, CAPITA3 and Gopher Angel.

The future of so many youth and young adults in this country rest in our ability to find transformative solutions to complex issues in higher education,” said Peter Taylor, president, ECMC Foundation. “Tackling these complex problems, however, requires thinking outside the box and supporting creative solutions driven by ambitious entrepreneurs like many of you in this room.” Taylor also moderated the event panel.

MN Cup

Left to Right: Sara Russick, CAPITA3 and Gopher Angels; Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation; Jeff Shelstad, Reflection Sciences and Flat World Knowledge; Don Smithmier, The Big Know

Applications are open until April 27. More information on the competition and how to apply is available on the MN Cup website.

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