Greater Minnesota startups snagged nearly a third of the 20 technology startup grants that the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has awarded so far this year.

DEED has given out more than $672,000 in Launch Minnesota Innovation Grants to 20 technology firms statewide in an initial round of awards. Applications will continue to be reviewed until $1.6 million is awarded through June. Another $1.6 million will be available after July 1. The grants require an equal match from private sources.

“Launch Minnesota is building on the energy of our state’s entrepreneurs, who are eager to expand their businesses, solve real world problems, and grow our Minnesota’s innovation ecosystem,” Neela Mollgaard, Launch Minnesota’s executive director, said in a news release.

The 2020 recipients awarded thus far in greater Minnesota are:

• Char Energy Equipment, Ada, which is designing and building a patented horizontal-bake gasifier.

• Guardian Athletics, Mankato, whose “Kato Collar” helps protect an athlete against brain injury.

• LEAH Labs, Rochester, which is developing a new treatment for canine cancer.

• Live Give Save, Red Wing, whose mobile app connects a user’s daily purchases to their favorite causes.

• Marblehead Medical, Rochester, for a device used to treat acute ischemic strokes.

• Phenomix Sciences, Rochester, new technology that can help manage obesity.

For more grant information, visit

Dan Browning


Council endorses winery project

The Mankato City Council voted unanimously last week to apply for a $222,500 state redevelopment grant to be used in support of a winery planned on 16 acres running along the Sibley Parkway and under the Hwy. 169 bridge.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has about $4 million to help communities redevelop blighted real estate. The money is split about equally between the Twin Cities metro area and greater Minnesota.

SPW Opp Zone LLC plans to redevelop the site of a former concrete plant that was active from at least 1910 to 2010.

Plans include a two-story, 7,800-square-foot wine production facility with commercial and food sales.

State funds may go toward an estimated $445,000 in infrastructure costs, including an access road, water, lighting and sanitary sewer services, half of which would be paid by the developer.

Dan Browning