By Mai P. Tran, ECMC Foundation
ECMC Group CEO Jeremy Wheaton opens the event.
Nervous and excited. Anxious, yet hopeful. Optimistic overall.
That’s how 10 organizations and their teams felt last week when they arrived at the Minnesota Cup (MN Cup) Education and Training Division Semifinalist Event held at ECMC Group’s headquarters in Minneapolis.
The MN Cup, an annual event in its 14th season, is a startup competition in Minnesota. It is an opportunity for entrepreneurs and early-stage ventures to land prize money, coaches and mentors to develop and launch their idea.
Judges in the decision room.
This year, with the support of ECMC Group and its philanthropic arm, ECMC Foundation, the group launched the Education and Training Division. In the division’s inaugural year, 79 applications were submitted, surpassing expectations by nearly 100 percent.
The adrenaline-packed event was attended by more than 100 education professionals, entrepreneurs and investors who came to watch the live pitches.
The 10 semifinalists—Letters, Andamio Games, Cedar Labs LLC, Cytilife, Edji Inc., EduCharacter, InnovateK12, Literacy Matters Foundation, MANBOAT and Pivot Interactives SBC—pitched ideas that ranged from solutions in early childhood through higher education, corporate training and inclusion.
A panel of judges graded the semifinalists and narrowed the applicant pool down to three finalists and their solutions:
ECMC Foundation’s Sarah Belnick announced the three finalists.
Next Up: Final Awards Event on October 9
The finalists move onto the final round and will compete against finalists from all nine divisions on October 9 for a chance to win $500,000 in startup capital. Registration for the event is open to the public and available on the MN Cup website.
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