The Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA) just announced the 22 semi-finalists for its 2019 Million Dollar Challenge, which will be held on July 31, 2019. The 22 start-ups will be competing for a share of $1 million in financing, which will be split between four finalists. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony following a final pitch by the leading candidates on October 11, 2019.
Ten of the 22 candidates are from the Twin Cities, an area that has been actively recruiting start-ups for several years. All minority-led businesses, they include:
- Asdal Inc., a software company that’s created a suite of online tools for retailers doing business on Amazon.
- Aviaxin, a St. Paul-based start-up that produces biological products that ensure safe, economical vaccine delivery to poultry flocks.
- Minneapolis-based Civic Eagle, an organization that promotes transparency in government by creating workflows for public-policy professionals.
- Diaspocare, a pharmacy network that allows “sponsors” to pre-pay for medicines for their loved ones
- Litty Solar, a solar company that offers energy solutions in the Twin Cities area
- Metamodix Inc., the creator of the Endosleeve, an alternative to gastric bypass surgery for patients with Type 2 diabetes
- The Oxygen Plan, a program aimed at reducing healthcare costs by reducing stress
- Phenomix Sciences, a biotech firm that has developed a test that helps doctors target obesity therapy through phenotyping
- The Sioux Chef, a soon-to-open indigenous kitchen that will serve Native American cuisine
- 26 Letters, a St. Paul-based company that uses data and research to help companies increase diversity and inclusion.
Based loosely on the TV show “Shark Tank,” the MEDA Million Dollar Challenge will give these and 12 other minority-led companies the opportunity to present a 5-minute pitch explaining why their company deserves to win. The competition will be held at the Traveler’s Co. building in downtown St. Paul and is open to the public. Admission is free.
The Metropolitan Economic Development Association is a nonprofit that works to help minority-owned businesses succeed in an environment where access to capital is often challenging. Its services include financial solutions, business consulting, funding opportunities and assistance with government contracts. Founded in 1971, MEDA has helped start over 500 minority-owned small businesses and assisted over 20,000 minority entrepreneurs.
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