Skip to content

AURI Launches Entrepreneur in Residence Program

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

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.

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.

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, AURI can help increase the likelihood of grant awards by providing qualified entrepreneurs with a source of in-kind match funding.

“Access to technical advice, specialized equipment and funding options can be difference makers for the next generation of innovators looking to grow their companies to create jobs in the food and agriculture sector and bring revenue into the region,” said Dr. Luca Zullo, AURI’s Senior Director of Science and Technology. “We are excited to continue the Entrepreneur in Residence program and our important work helping food and agricultural entrepreneurs with product and process development, analytical testing, market assessment and the many other decisions that face entrepreneurs who are ready to scale up their businesses.”

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.

Candidates for the EiR should possess both technical expertise and a basic understanding of laboratory operations and equipment use. Due to space constraints, AURI will limit the number of concurrent EiR projects.

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 business plan with a budget that reflects an ability to support the project during residency, and its strategy to continue its funding beyond EiR.

Interested entrepreneurs are required to submit an application package. AURI will accept applications year-round.

For more information about the EiR or to request an application, email or visit

About AURI
The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute’s mission is to foster long-term economic benefit through value-added agricultural products. It accomplishes this by using science and technology to help develop new uses for agricultural products. It partners with businesses and entrepreneurs to generate economic impact in Minnesota communities by helping businesses take advantage of innovative opportunities in four focus areas: biobased products, renewable energy, coproducts and food. AURI provides a broad range of services, including applied research and development, scientific assistance and a targeted network of resources to develop value-added uses for crops and coproducts.