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Executive Director’s Column: Bold Open

Innovation is essential to Minnesota. It’s a major contributor to the state’s economy as well as its reputation as being a place where the brightest minds launch revolutionary ideas that benefit the world. Innovation comes from all different corners of the state, Fortune 500 companies, private entrepreneurs, commodity groups, producers, universities or organizations like AURI.

These entities all play unique roles in developing and commercializing innovation in Minnesota, but may not overlap in their efforts for various reasons. Considering all they accomplish individually, the potential to heighten our impact through creation of a shared space for innovation is vast. That very consideration lead AURI to partner with MBOLD to develop the Bold Open Reverse Pitch platform in collaboration with nearly 20 other entities from throughout Minnesota.

The Bold Open brings together producer groups, small to medium sized agribusinesses and some of the world’s largest and most influential food and agricultural companies to present “reverse pitches” to an audience of producers, researchers, entrepreneurs, innovators and subject-matter experts. The businesses talk about distinctive industry challenges they face and invite a global audience of innovators to propose partnership solutions.

Due to the concentration of agricultural and food businesses here and the range of challenges and opportunities facing Minnesota’s ag and food industries, the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the high caliber research underway at the state’s research institutions, it was compelling to collaborators to come together in one place and under one platform to broadcast these challenges to the widest audience possible. In this way, new relationships could be formed, attracting new solutions and opportunities for innovative proposals to these challenges.

The goal of the Bold Open is to help companies and entrepreneurs accelerate the commercialization of innovative solutions in a wide range of fields. In doing so, Bold Open enhances Minnesota’s long history and global reputation as an innovation center in food and agriculture. Through this unique collaboration, I hope Bold Open collaborators will uncover novel approaches and solutions to a variety of opportunities, from ingredient and product development to sustainable agricultural solutions.

I am excited about this extraordinary collaboration of leading Minnesota entities and look forward to launching the Bold Open event this summer. For more information, please visit or