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Entrepreneur in Residence Program

The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) offers a comprehensive program to catalyze and support small businesses and entrepreneurial innovation in value-added agriculture: AURI’s Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR) Program. AURI believes this program is a critical component in the success of its programs and mission.

Moving from ideation to proof of concept and early demonstration is a costly but critical step in product development. The EIR Program intends to make this step more accessible by providing qualified entrepreneurs with access to laboratory facilities and support through a period of residency at AURI’s facilities. Such access allows the Entrepreneurs in Residence to use and benefit from specialized equipment and facilities that may otherwise be out of reach or prohibitively expensive.

AURI’s EiR Program is also designed to provide support to entrepreneurs in their efforts to obtain non-dilutive funding through grants from Federal, State, and other public or private entities. For example, some research and development grants may not allow financing for laboratory space and facilities or require the grantee to provide matching funds. The AURI EiR program provides qualified entrepreneurs with a source of in-kind matching funds, increasing the likelihood of a grant award.

Any IP developed under the EiR program will be assigned to the Entrepreneur, thus leaving them unconstrained in pursuing further commercialization efforts after the EiR residency has been completed.

Participation in AURI’s EiR Program
The EiR program is open to single proprietors, partnerships, or limited liability corporations organized under the law of Minnesota or with a principal place of business in Minnesota. AURI expects the beneficiaries of the EiR program to be mainly pre-revenue small or individual businesses, although different situations may be considered to the sole judgment of AURI.

To optimize the use of limited laboratory and staff resources, AURI will limit the number of concurrent EiR projects with a preference for residencies not more than 8 months in duration. To be eligible for AURI’s services, program candidates must benefit Minnesota’s agricultural sector and agricultural products, demonstrate the potential for positive impact on Minnesota’s economy and be commercially viable. In addition, candidate’s products or processes must fit within one of AURI’s focus areas:

  • Food,
  • Coproducts,
  • Biobased Products,
  • Renewable Energy.

EiR candidates must also demonstrate the capacity and intent to continue commercializing their idea upon residency completion. Finally, EiR candidates must provide a plan of work and business plan with a budget that reflects their ability to support the project during residency and their strategy to continue the project funding afterward.

To learn more about this program or request additional information about applying to the Entrepreneur in Residence program, please send an email to

The EiR program is offered in partnership with Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Mainstreet Businesses Focused on Food and Agriculture initiative (MBFFA).