WINONA, Minn. — Christine Beech, executive director of Saint Mary’s University’s Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, has been named to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s advisory board for Launch Minnesota. This new statewide collaboration supports technology startups.

Each of the board’s 10 members come from unique backgrounds in technology and entrepreneurship.

Launch Minnesota will provide financial incentives, training, and grants to people starting scalable innovative businesses in sectors such as aerospace, agricultural processing, nanotechnology, and medical devices. The program provides special consideration for startups in Greater Minnesota, as well as businesses started by women, veterans and people of color. The program has an annual budget of $2.5 million.

A key goal of Launch Minnesota is to make the risks related to starting a high technology company a little more manageable for entrepreneurs through:

  • Grants to assist in attracting federal research and development funding
  • Business operation grants to help entrepreneurs with capital constraints
  • Child care and housing assistance
  • Training in areas focused on scalable innovative businesses
  • An Angel Tax Credit that incentivizes venture investment in early stage startups.

Beyond providing incentives, Launch Minnesota seeks to bring the statewide startup industry together to create a stronger network of innovators in Minnesota, and to tell the story of the state’s startup growth to the rest of the country and the world.

Christine Beech is also an assistant professor of business at Saint Mary’s. She is active in the Southeast Minnesota entrepreneurial community, co-founding a Women Entrepreneur’s Forum in Rochester, helping to launch a co-work space and bring 1 Million Cups to Winona, and partnering with other local universities to create new cross-disciplinary student entrepreneurial events. Her research areas have included the examination of gender, faith, and military service as predictors of entrepreneurial activity. Prior to joining Saint Mary’s University, Christine engaged in several entrepreneurial ventures, ranging from building a management consulting business line with over $21 million in annual revenue, to operating a boutique consulting practice serving federal government clients. She is also a military veteran, having retired after serving 20 years in the Army as a military intelligence warrant officer.

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