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University of Minnesota secures about one-third of state’s SSBCI dollars for new fund

The University of Minnesota (U of M) is partnering with the State of Minnesota to inject $34.5 million into Minnesota’s early stage, venture-backed businesses — a key step toward maintaining Minnesota’s position as one of the best states nationally for growing new businesses.

The funding comes from a portion of the state’s nearly $100 million allocation under the federal “State Small Business Credit Initiative” (SSBCI). Announced last week, the (U of M) program is focusing particularly on investments in life sciences, agriculture/food tech, climate tech, advanced manufacturing, software, and technology.

“This new infusion of capital will help our whole Minnesota startup ecosystem move many new early stage ideas forward,” said Russ Straate, who leads the University’s Venture Center which has helped spin out more than 200 start-ups based on U of M inventions. “We’re pleased the independent selection process will allow U of M and other start-ups we worked with through DEED’s Launch Minnesota and Angel Tax Credit programs to be eligible for these much needed resources. All early stage companies in Minnesota should consider these new funding opportunities.”

The programs are expected to:

  • Work directly with venture capital fund managers to reach Minnesota’s developing markets in need of capital investment;
  • Broaden opportunities for direct investment in early stage start-ups that need access to capital to meet their goals;
  • Leverage the University’s expertise with investing in high-growth early-stage companies; and
  • Be transparent and fair, while adhering to all federal guidelines so that Minnesota may fully utilize the total amount of capital available through the programs.

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