The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development says it has awarded $376,075 in Launch Minnesota Innovation Grants to startup businesses.

With these awards, the full $3.2 million in biennium funding for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 has now been allocated.

In this latest round, DEED awarded innovation grants to 15 startups. Of those, nine are targeted businesses, which include BIPOC-owned (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), woman-owned, and businesses located in Greater Minnesota.

“As Minnesota’s economy recovers from the pandemic, it’s vital that the state continues to support technology startups and foster the growth of our innovation ecosystem,” DEED Deputy Commissioner of Economic Development Kevin McKinnon said in the announcement. “These are investments in Minnesota’s present and its future.”

Grants are awarded through a competitive application process to the most promising innovative and scalable technology businesses in Minnesota. Since Launch Minnesota’s creation in 2019, it has awarded 140 grants totaling $3.2 million to 104 startups statewide – 60% of which have been in targeted categories.

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There has been significant interest in the program, according to information from DEED; Launch MN received 365 applications, totaling more than $11 million in requested funds. The 140 grants awarded account for 38% of those applications and 29% of requested funding.

The grants were designed to reduce the risk for Minnesota technology startups and entrepreneurs who are solving problems and growing our state’s innovation ecosystem by providing capital for business operations as well as smaller grants for housing and child care.

“Those who’ve received grants tell us that this funding makes a big difference in creating opportunities to grow their businesses and in leveling the playing field,” said Launch Minnesota Executive Director Neela Mollgaard. “Demand for these grants has far exceeded available funding, and in fact this latest round of grants means our program has fully disbursed its funding with months still to go in our fiscal year.”