MN’s Ag and Food Leaders Seek Fresh Ideas from Entrepreneurs and Innovators

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Announcing the 2020 Bold Open Reverse Pitch

PRESS RELEASE – The Bold Open virtual reverse pitch collaboration will flip the traditional pitch to find innovative solutions to food and ag industry challenges. The Bold Open is powered by the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, in partnership with MBOLD, and in collaboration with 18 other Minnesota food and agriculture entities.  Through the Bold Open, Minnesota companies will solicit innovative solutions from entrepreneurs, researchers, and businesses from around the world to address their specific industry challenges. 

A live, interactive web-based event on July 27 will bring together innovative industry leaders from across Minnesota to discuss industry issues on topics related to ag innovation as well as to pitch value-added food and agriculture product and process innovation and sustainability challenges.

The goal of the Bold Open is to help companies and entrepreneurs accelerate the commercialization of innovative solutions. The participating Minnesota companies will share distinctive company and industry challenges and invite the audience to propose solutions.

“Due to the current pandemic realities we are hosting the Bold Open via a digital platform this year,” said Shannon Schlecht, Executive Director of AURI. “By having these leading food and ag entities issue innovation challenges, we hope they will uncover novel approaches to accelerate solutions to a variety of opportunities, from ingredient and product development to identifying new sustainable industry practices.”

AURI is partnering with MBOLD to power the Bold Open as a vehicle for catalyzing innovation and connections around the world to address some of food and agriculture’s biggest challenges. It is one of the few reverse pitch events of its kind in the Midwest region focused on food and agriculture.

“The MBOLD coalition is excited to help catalyze this unique opportunity to solicit ideas and spark collaborations with innovators around the globe,” said JoAnne Berkenkamp, MBOLD Managing Director. “The Bold Open is a game-changer for linking innovators and entrepreneurs with our region’s globally leading cluster of food and agriculture businesses as we work together to address critical food and ag challenges.

“The Bold Open is the product of collaboration among, and support from, the following organizations: AURI, MBOLD, Cargill, Compeer Financial, Ecolab, Forever Green Partnership, General Mills, Glacial Grain Spirts, Grow North, Greater MSP Partnership, Hormel Foods, Land O’ Lakes Inc., Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council, Schwan’s Company, SunOpta, Syngenta, Target, TechStars Farm to Fork Accelerator and the University of Minnesota.

Visit to learn more about the Bold Open platform.  Innovation challenges and registration for the July 27 event will be available in early July. 

For more information on the events and participating organizations, or to request media credentials, please contact Erik Evans at 612.704.1120 or

About AURI
The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute’s mission is to foster long-term economic benefit through value-added agricultural products. It accomplishes this by using science and technology to help develop new uses for agricultural products. It partners with businesses and entrepreneurs to generate economic impact in Minnesota communities by helping businesses take advantage of innovative opportunities in four focus areas: biobased products, renewable energy, coproducts and food. AURI provides a broad range of services, including applied research and development, scientific assistance and a targeted network of resources to develop value-added uses for crops and coproducts.

At the MBOLD™ coalition, we believe that the future of food and agriculture must be one that nourishes a growing global population while protecting and preserving the Earth’s natural resource base for the generations to come. Minnesota’s globally leading cluster of businesses, researchers, and food and agriculture producers has a vital role to play in making that future a reality. We work together to accelerate solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the food and agriculture sectors, particularly our changing climate and other natural resource challenges and the quest to meet the nutritional needs of a population expected to reach 10 billion by the year 2050.

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