Minnesota State Mankato to Lead State Regional Hub to Support Entrepreneurs

University is one of six state leaders in Launch Minnesota network initiative

March 17, 2020 | News Story

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato was recently selected to lead one of six Minnesota regional hubs in a network established to strengthen Minnesota’s entrepreneurs and make it easier for innovators to take advantage of the wealth of resources across the state.

The selection was announced Feb. 26 by Launch Minnesota, a new initiative led by Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

Through a request for proposal process, Minnesota State Mankato received a grant of $60,000 to establish the Southwest Minnesota hub. University organizations will also provide more than $102,000 of in-kind services and cash to support the initiative. According to DEED, the grant and matching dollars empowers the Launch Minnesota Network to provide:

  • Coordinated outreach, programming, education, and events to support startups at each stage of their business  
  • Physical spaces for entrepreneurs to collaborate 
  • Shared best practices between regions  
  • A way to capture data to better understand the needs and gaps of businesses in our state 

“The Launch Minnesota grant distinguishes Minnesota State University, Mankato as the regional center of innovation and entrepreneurship and leader in the state system in supporting tech-driven start-ups that ultimately bring benefit to the local and regional economy,” said Bobby Fleischman, vice president for strategic partnerships at Minnesota State Mankato. “The distinction also brings awareness to our institution’s Strategic Partnerships division and the Small Business Development Center and Center for Continuing Professional Education that provide support for start-up companies in the form of free legal and financial consulting services, customized training and continuing education programs.”

NOTE TO EDITORS: For more information or to arrange an interview with Minnesota State Mankato Vice President for Strategic Partnerships Bobby Fleischman, please contact Hannah Hollingshead by phone at 507-389-1479 or by email at hannah.hollingshead@mnsu.edu.

The Launch Minnesota initiative will provide innovation grants to entrepreneurs and start-ups in the areas of business operations, housing or child care, small business innovation research and small business technology. The grants are intended to help businesses be successful, according to a Launch Minnesota news release.

Minnesota State Mankato was chosen to lead the initiative’s Southwest Minnesota hub. Other regional hubs and leaders include the Northwest Minnesota hub (Greater Bemidji Launch Pad), Southeast Minnesota hub (Red Wing Ignite), Twin Cities hub (Forge North and Meda) and West Central Minnesota hub (St. Cloud Development Corporation). A leader for a Northeast Minnesota hub has not yet been determined.

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