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New Opportunity for Value-Added Ag Entrepreneurs

The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) is accepting applications for the organization’s Entrepreneur in Residence Program (EiR). This is a comprehensive program created to catalyze and support small businesses and entrepreneurial innovation in value-added agriculture.

Qualified entrepreneurs selected to participate will benefit from the direct use of AURI’s laboratories and equipment, as well as the organization’s expertise in its focus areas of food, coproducts, renewable energy and biobased products. In addition, the program can also support entrepreneurs in their efforts to obtain

non-dilutive funding through grants from federal, state and other public or private entities. While some research and development grants may not allow financing for laboratory space and facilities, or may require matching funds, this program can help qualified entrepreneurs increase the likelihood of grant awards by providing them with a source of in-kind match funding.

Program participants will have access to AURI’s Coproducts lab in Waseca and its Analytical Chemistry, Bioproducts and Food and Meat Processing labs in Marshall. These facilities house equipment that will assist individuals in product and process development, scale‐up, nutritional assessment, pilot production line development and production for market assessment. AURI’s scientists and business development experts will be available to advise on issues related to technical soundness and quality of product and process development, analytical testing, product formulation, evaluation and testing of the product, prototype development, sourcing of ingredients and feedstock, choice of materials, equipment and services selection, market suitability and prospects and commercialization viability.

Who is Eligible?
The EiR program is open to single proprietors, partnerships or limited liability corporations organized under the laws of Minnesota or with a principal place of business in the state. Those expected to benefit the most from the program are pre-revenue, small or individual businesses. To be eligible for AURI’s services, EiR candidates must benefit Minnesota’s agricultural sector while demonstrating the potential for positive impact on Minnesota’s economy. Program candidates must also demonstrate the capacity and intent to continue commercializing their idea upon residency completion. Finally, EiR candidates must provide a work plan, as well as a preliminary business plan with a budget that reflects an ability to support the project during residency, and its strategy to continue its funding beyond EiR.

For more information about the EiR or to request an application, email or click here.