Entrepreneurship with a purpose

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Starting a successful business takes more than a great idea. It requires a willingness to take on risk, a passion and a sense of purpose, a vision that pulls you forward, and a support system that catches you and rights your path when you stumble.

Such success is rarely the work of one individual, but of a network of helpers who keep you moving when the inevitable and innumerable challenges arise. From coursework and faculty mentorship to internships and funding opportunities, the University of Minnesota offers a robust entrepreneurship ecosystem for students and faculty.

At the U of M Twin Cities, this includes physical spaces, like the nearly 7,000-square-foot Toaster Innovation Hub for students, as well as competitions that result in funding and mentorship support, such as MN Cup and the Acara Challenge.

Even after graduation, the University of Minnesota Alumni Association’s MN Alumni Market offers an online sales platform for entrepreneurial alumni—one of the only such markets in existence among universities in the nation.

In just the past decade, U of M Twin Cities students, faculty, and alumni have launched hundreds of businesses. Above, you'll find just a few of the many businesses that have made making a positive impact on society core to their mission. And in "Pathways to entrepreneurship," you'll find some of the ways the U of M Twin Cities supports our entrepreneurship community.

Pathways to Entrepreneurship

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Minnesota Cup

MN Cup: Charting a course for entrepreneurs

The University of Minnesota’s MN Cup is the country’s largest statewide new-venture competition. Read about MN Cup.

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Toaster Innovation

Toaster Innovation Hub: A space for students to turn ideas into action

The Toaster is an imaginative space designed for sparking student creativity and collaboration. Read about the Toaster Innovation Hub.

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Acara Program

Acara: Creating environmental and social change

The Acara program draws students interested in entrepreneurship and environmental and social change. Read about Acara.

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Alumni Market

Alumni Market: A sales platform for entrepreneurial alumni

The MN Alumni Market is one of the only such markets among universities in the nation. Read about the Alumni Market.

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COVID-19 Innovations

Technology commercialization and COVID-19 innovations

When COVID-19 hit, the U of M Twin Cities technology commercialization team quickly shifted to moving COVID-19 innovations into the marketplace. Read about Technology commercialization and COVID-19 innovations.