MN Cup Green and Sustainable Chemistry Prize

Peter Tester and Katherine EllisonMN Cup is an annual competition for entrepreneurs, researchers, and inventors run by the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. The competition connects emerging businesses with education, mentorship, and support to launch and accelerate the development of their new ventures.

As part of the competition, the MPCA is offering a Green and Sustainable Chemistry Prize of $10,000 to technologies and products that were designed using one or more green chemistry principles or that demonstrate safer or more sustainable chemistry than those already on the market. Currently, the MPCA is committed to offering the prize though 2023 to increase awareness, innovation, and connectivity within Minnesota’s green and sustainable chemistry community. Applications for the next MN Cup competition round will open in March 2022.

Qualifying new technologies may be:

  • New chemistry or formulations
  • Nonchemical technology that performs as needed without using hazardous substances (e.g., flame-resist coating that doesn't use hazardous flame retardants)
  • A production-method improvement that reduces toxicity in a product's life cycle

Candidate companies and technologies should be:

  • At practical proof of concept stage (demonstration testing completed)
  • Commercial or have a planned path to commercialization
  • In compliance with applicable MPCA regulations for at least three years

To be considered for the prize, mention your interest in your initial MN Cup application, and describe the current “incumbent” or emerging chemistries in the marketplace, and what makes yours different, less toxic, or more sustainable. Common tools for comparing chemical hazards:

Be sure to protect your intellectual property in your description, but you can assist the judges by providing your solution’s general chemical class, sourcing, production process inputs, and so on. Contact Al Innes for more information.


The MPCA assembles a panel of experts in green chemistry, sustainability, and related business development from leading Minnesota businesses and universities to choose who is awarded the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Prize.

Higher scores may be given for:

  • Direct use of one or more green chemistry principles

  • Technology with demonstrable potential to reduce the product's effect on public health, especially children, workers, or disadvantaged communities

  • Technology that replaces one or more Minnesota Chemicals of High Concern.

2021 winner

Bright Planet Pet (Bloomington, Minn.) won the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Prize. One of almost 800 MN Cup applicants this round, Bright Planet Pet’s plant-based dog treats avoid the water, energy, and greenhouse gas emission effects of meat production. The treats also avoid the use of some resource- and chemical-intensive crops. Ingredients in their formulation, packaging, and production were or will be selected for low-impact sourcing and sustainability which are all key methods of green and sustainable chemistry.

Along with MPCA staff, judges volunteered from Target, Ecolab, Naturesfynd, the University of Minnesota Chemistry department, and 2018 MN Cup semifinalist Remooble. Their valuable contributions are greatly appreciated.