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Launch Minnesota Education Grant

Grants to Minnesota Public Entities, Organizations,
and IHEs to Support Local Startups

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) - Launch Minnesota

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

01/17/20 4:00 PM


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Grants of up to $75,000 to Minnesota public entities, organizations, and IHEs to educate entrepreneurs and to provide services to local startups. Grants may be used to deliver risk capital, commercialization, statewide collaboration, and networking services. Funding is intended to support technology startups and entrepreneurs, and to position Minnesota as a leader in innovation. Priority will be given to proposals that seek to serve business owners or entrepreneurs who are women, veterans, or minority group members or businesses or entrepreneurs located in greater Minnesota.

Launch Minnesota is a new initiative of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to encourage and support the development of innovative, scalable, high-technology start-ups in Minnesota. DEED is seeking to establish a network of designated Launch Minnesota Regional Partners that will partner with Launch Minnesota to deliver education and counseling to high-technology start-ups, provide outreach on start-up investment opportunities, and provide networking opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors and other stakeholders in support of the full life-cycle of innovative technology start-ups. 

An organization receiving an award will be a designated Launch Minnesota Regional Partner that will:

  • Have a track record of assisting scalable innovative startups and working across geographic and organizational boundaries to serve high-technology startups.
  • Deliver counseling and education to growing new tech ventures in a classroom setting or through distance learning with models including but not limited to the lean start-up model.
  • Serve as a conduit and convener for outreach to support high-technology business creation;
  • Have physical space available with associated branding to host Launch Minnesota related activities.
  • Collaborate with academic, government, corporate and community organizations to create regional partnerships to support startups including: recruitment, educational programming, mentoring, connections to risk capital, and a common space to work. 
  • Host events, competitions and meetings with other organizations to grow our innovation economy. 
  • Collect data to share with Launch Minnesota to amplify Minnesota as a leader in innovation.
  • Meet regularly with other Launch Minnesota Regional Partners and collaborators to share best practices statewide.

Organizations seeking to be Launch Minnesota Regional Partner are encouraged to define a service area that is contiguous with all or part of a DEED Business Development Region. It is the intent of this initiative there will be at least one designated Launch Minnesota Regional Partner per region. 

Grantees will use the grant funds to deliver the following services:

  • Commercialization: development and delivery to high technology businesses of industry specific or innovative product or process specific counseling on issues of business formation, market structure, market research and strategies, securing first mover advantage or overcoming barriers to entry, protecting intellectual property, and securing debt or equity capital. This counseling is to be delivered in a classroom setting or using distance media presentations;
  • Risk Capital: outreach and education to businesses and organizations on the Angel tax credit program under Minnesota Statutes, section 116J.8737, the MNvest crowd-funding program under Minnesota Statutes, section 80A.461, and other state programs that support high technology business creation especially in underserved communities;
  • Statewide Collaboration: collaboration with institutions of higher education, local organizations, federal and state agencies, the Small Business Development Center, and the Small Business Assistance Office to create and offer educational programming and ongoing counseling in greater Minnesota that is consistent with those services offered in the metropolitan area; and
  • Networking: events, competitions with other innovation-related organizations to inform entrepreneurs and potential investors about Minnesota's growing information economy.

For more information about Launch Minnesota, see:

For allowable expenses, see page 9 of the RFP. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 187463

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Interested parties may apply for a maximum of $75,000 in year 1.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must be an organization or public entity that provides business development and assistance services to entrepreneurs and small businesses in Minnesota.

Organizations – including higher education institutions - should have experience and success in:
- Providing educational programming to high-technology early stage businesses.
- Providing outreach to and collaboration with businesses, federal and state agencies, institutions of higher education, trade associations and other organizations working to advance innovative, high-technology early stage businesses throughout Minnesota.

Ineligible expenses, both direct and administrative, include but are not limited to:
- Fundraising
- Taxes, except sales tax on goods and services
- Lobbyists, political contributions
- Bad debts, late payment fees, finance charges, or contingency funds
- Parking or traffic violations
- Out of state transportation and travel expenses, (Minnesota will be considered the home state for determining whether travel is out of state).

No more than 10% of an award may be used for administrative costs. DEED reserves the right to offset overpayments and disallowances by reducing a subsequent cash payment or requiring repayment of costs. 10% of the entire award may be used for this purpose, not 10% of each sub-grant.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Informational Webinar for Education Grants:
November 22, 2019, 10:00 a.m.
Web conference Details: Follow the web link and use the call in number to see and hear the webinar content.
Meeting Link:
Call in number: 1-888-742-5095
Access Code: 761 492 1901

Links to the webinar and all webinar content will be made available on the Launch Minnesota website after the initial cast.

Pre-Application Information:

The deadline for the submission of applications is 4:00 PM on January 17, 2020.

Grant proposals will be accepted twice during the two-year grant cycle.
- Year 1 funding will be available February, 2020 – December 31, 2020.
- Year 2 funding will be available January 1, 2021 – December 2021.
The solicitation for year 2 proposals will be issued in the fall of 2020 for awards in January 2021.

- RFP Posted on the DEED website: November 13, 2019
- RFP Information Session: November 22, 2019, 10:00 am
- Questions due: December 6, 2019
- Final updated FAQ posted on website: December 10, 2019
- Proposals due: January 3, 2020. 4:00 pm
- Award Notifications (estimate): Early February
- Contracts Executed (estimate): March
- Grant end date: December 31, 2020

Upon request, grant materials will be made available in alternative formats. For TDD, contact Minnesota Relay at 711 or 1-800-627-3529.

The grant requires a minimum of one-to-one matching.

For Helpful Resources, see:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Please send the proposal via email to

Submit all RFP related questions to:

Grant Coverage Areas:

For a map of Business Development Regions, see page 18 of the RFP in Supporting Documents below.

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Minnesota

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