2012 Grand Prize Winner News Release
MINNESOTA CUP NAMES PreciouStatus
BEST BREAKTHROUGH BUSINESS IDEA OF 2012
BEST BREAKTHROUGH BUSINESS IDEA OF 2012
MINNEAPOLIS – September 7, 2012 – PreciousStatus, a mobile application platform that allows daycare providers, hospitals and care facilities to communicate in real-time with their loved ones, was awarded the Minnesota Cup during a ceremony Thursday evening at the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center. In addition to winning $25,000 as the High-Tech division winner, PreciouStatus took home another $40,000 and a host of professional services and other benefits as the grand prize winner.PreciouStatus founder, Julie Gilbert-Newrai, started the company 18 months after facing a life-altering situation when her husband was hospitalized with a severe brain hemorrhage when their child was eight weeks old. “It was during those months that I learned firsthand how difficult communications with loved ones can be during times of crisis,” Gilbert-Newrai said. “The more I looked at the system at large, it became obvious how broken it was.”
For the second year in a row, a female entrepreneur whose business idea has been inspired by a tragic family event has won the Minnesota Cup. “The competition exists to support all Minnesota entrepreneurs,” said Minnesota Cup co-founder Scott Litman. “It shouldn’t be surprising that more female entrepreneurs are seeing success in the competition as they have been starting businesses at faster rates than men for many years, and it just so happens that the best business ideas in 2011 and 2012 have been lead by women.”
More than 1,000 entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators participated in this year’s competition, and as further testament to the success of the competition, finalists from 2009-2011 have gone on to raise more than $52 million in capital. “It’s amazing how much the quality of plans and presentations improve every year,” said Litman. “But it’s not just the number of entrants increasing or the quality of business plans that makes the Cup continually successful. It’s also the support we receive from mentors, judges, sponsors, supporters and competition alumni. That list keeps getting longer by the year and we’re so grateful for all the amazing support we receive.”
Another great success story from this year’s competition was the Clean Tech & Renewable Energy division winner, Envirolastech. After 15 years of fighting for their big break, the Minnesota Cup was exactly what they needed. “They’ve continually told us how being named a semi-finalist and division winner, as well as going through the entire process, has helped significantly accelerate their development,” added Litman.
“The Minnesota Cup is the one venue that tells entrepreneurs to keep going while so many tell you that your business isn’t going to work,” said Gilbert-Newrai. “It’s a breath of fresh air. It’s the real deal, filled with high-caliber, smart people who have a belief in the entrepreneurial journey.”
In June, judges selected semi-finalists who were asked to develop a more comprehensive business proposal. From there, judges selected three finalists in each division (High Tech, BioScience & Health IT, Clean Tech & Renewable Energy, Social, General and Student) who were invited to present an eight-minute oral presentation to their respective review boards. The divisional review boards selected the division winners on August 28, each of whom received $25,000 (the Student division winner was awarded $10,000 and the Mosaic Social Entrepreneur winner was awarded $20,000) and division runners-up received $5,000.
The Minnesota Cup is hosted by Wells Fargo and the University of Minnesota. Lead partners of the competition are Carlson, General Mills and, new in 2012, UnitedHealth Group.
For a complete list of 2012 Minnesota Cup semi-finalists, finalists and division winners, visit www.MinnesotaCup.org.
About the Minnesota Cup
The 8th Annual Minnesota Cup is a statewide competition that seeks to support and accelerate the development of the best breakthrough ideas from across the state. From high-tech to high-touch, biosciences to retail, agriculture to social ventures, this is a competition for entrepreneurs, inventors and anybody with an innovative business idea. With over $200,000 in prize money and support from the state’s leaders in finance, accounting, legal and management support services, the Minnesota Cup is the premier business idea generator in Minnesota and the largest new venture competition in the country.