Owners of small businesses and startup companies have a new source of cash to help with a variety of needs, from child care and housing to research and development.

The new $2.5 million state program called Launch Minnesota will start accepting grant applications at the end of October, Executive Director Neela Mollgaard said. The program will continuously take applications and there is no deadline to apply, she said.

About $1.6 million will be used for matching grant programs. They are looking for innovative technology companies, not traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, Mollgaard said. Startups located in greater Minnesota, and those run by women, people of color or veterans, will be given priority.

Another $450,000 will be available for corporations, universities, government organizations and other groups to support educational and training programs for tech entrepreneurs.

"There's definitely a need in Minnesota to better coordinate and collaborate so we can be an innovative leader," she said. "The startup ecosystem is an important factor."

Launch Minnesota is entirely state-funded for the first two years, but the state's goal is to keep the program going in the future with a mix of private and public dollars, Mollgaard said. More details are available at launchminnesota.org.

Jessie Van Berkel