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Launch Minnesota Network - 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:

11/24/20 4:00 PM Central Time


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Grants of up to $75,000 to Minnesota public entities, organizations, and IHEs to offer services and counseling to entrepreneurs and local start-ups. 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. 

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.

Grant Objectives can be found at

For allowable expenses, see

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 187463

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Maximum Award: Interested parties may apply for a maximum of $75,000 in year 2.

Term of Contract:

- Project Start (estimate): January 2021
- Grant end date: December 31, 2021

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:

A webinar was held on October 28. to learn more about the grant and application process. The recording and presentation are now available.



Pre-Application Information:

Proposals are due by 4:00 p.m., Friday, November 24, 2020.

Grant Cycle: Grant proposals will be accepted twice during the two-year grant cycle. Year 1 funding has been award. This RFP is for Year 2 and will be available January 1, 2021 – December 2021.

- RFP posted on the DEED web site: October 19, 2020
- RFP Information Session: October 28, 2020 2:00 pm
- Questions due: October 30, 2020
- Final updated FAQ posted on website: November 10, 2020
- Proposals due: November 24, 2020. 4:00pm
- Award Notifications (estimate): December 15, 2020
- Project Start (estimate): January, 2021
- Grant end date: December 31, 2021

All grant agreements entered into with DEED require both state and federal tax identification numbers and a valid DUNS number issued by Dun & Bradstreet.

Grant funds are disbursed on a reimbursement basis and no payment will be made until a grant agreement is fully executed between DEED and the grantee.

The grant requires a minimum of one-to-one matching. Grantees are required to propose a project total budget that includes and identifies the sources of matching dollars (both cash match and in-kind), the commitment of those sources, the programmatic and financial partnerships between organizations and the lead applicant, and the total value of any sub grants and/or contracts between partners. Proposals must also identify the dollar amount and percentage of state money involved in the total project cost. Any additional state funds the organization receives beyond this proposed funding will be taken into consideration when determining awards and award amounts.

Only matching funds that are committed and from non-state sources will count towards the one-to-one matching requirements of this funding.

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:

DEED Headquarters
1st National Bank Building
332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200
St. Paul, MN 55101

Grant Coverage Areas:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Minnesota

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