ConnectUP! Programs

Initiatives just for yoU

We have virtual and in-person programs designed for entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts to connect, learn and grow-check them out below!


An Orbit of Local Startup Support!

Scale Your Startup!

A 14-week program specializing in growth, connection & innovation for diverse founders!
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Helping Founders Secure the Bag!

Secure the Bag!

A 12-week program to help you get ready (and stay ready) for business funding opportunities!
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Capital, Capacity and Community for Founders!

Level Up Your Biz

Supporting 2nd-stage Black, Brown, Women, LGBTQ+ and Rural Founders across Minnesota with capital, capacity and community.
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Connect and Learn with Other Founders!

Small Group Growth

Small group sessions with a business expert about branding, operations, budgetting and more!
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Local & Industry Specific Events for Founders!

Grow Your Community

A day of industry specific and culturally grounded gathering of diverse entrepreneurs, experts and investors.
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Your Entrepreneur Ecosystem All in One Place!

The Room Where It Happens

2 day, bi-annual gathering connecting the entrepreneur community!
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Industry Experts Sharing Knowledge!

Connect & Share

Highly accomplished business professionals volunteering 1:1 coaching, workshops and more!
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Get Out There

Calendar of ConnectUP!, partner and local events for the entrepreneur ecosystem.
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We aim to create an unshakeable, holistic system of support for BIPOC, women, and LGBTQ entrepreneurs resulting in a massive gravitational pull for capital, talent, and jobs toward our region. The Lunar Startups Accelerator specializes in growth, connection, and innovation for Black, Indigenous, people of color, LGBTQ+, women, and non-binary entrepreneurs!

We work with high-potential startup founders. Lunar is not an idea stage incubator; all of our startups have traction in the form of an in-market product or service with existing customers, clients, and/or users. Our program is intended for founders thinking really big about scale.

Our Lunar #Cohort7 program will begin in March 2024- stay connected with us to meet the rockstar startups that will be joining us! This program cohort is no longer accepting applications.

Check out the program details and FAQs!


The number one need of entrepreneurs is capital – to start, scale and sustain their businesses. The Capital Readiness Accelerator prepares mid-level (3-10 year) founders with the tools necessary to access traditional capital networks and funding opportunities. In this accelerator*, founders are paired with knowledgeable, qualified, and diverse ConnectUP! business consultants. During this time, founders will receive customized business coaching and comprehensive financial health planning to scale and sustain their businesses. 

Our Capital Readiness Program cohort will begin in March 2024! Stay tuned for founder announcement over the coming months. This cohort is no longer accepting applications.

At ConnectUP! Institute, we want to close the capital and resource gap that keeps 2nd-stage Black, Brown, Women, LGBTQ+ and Rural business founders in Minnesota from thriving at the same scale as their privileged peers. That’s why our Integrated Capital Fund powers access, opportunity and success for those founders by providing the 3 C’s: Capital, Capacity and Community!

Capital: We provide a blended capital stack that includes: grants, debt, and equity as well as alternative financing to support business growth. We also engage founders in positioning them for larger, traditional capital investments.

Capacity: With us, businesses get more than advice. They get the fractional executive support they need to get things done to increase revenue.

Community: Founders are given access to curated groups of tactical networks that provide relevant and on-going support systems to continue growing their business. That includes our Expert Network, our community of founders in our accelerator programs and our broader entrepreneur ecosystem!

We are not currently taking applications for our Integrated Capital Fund. 

Join our mailing list to get first details about our next round of ICF applications!

Our BossUP! Circles are designed to equip second-stage small business founders with actionable strategies to overcome the hurdles of surviving in the market space, maintaining good business practices, and scaling up. Each month, 3-4 CEOs will join us to sit down with Expert Mentors and work through issues they may be facing. These topic-specific meetings are also a space for CEOs to seek advice from their peers who may have experienced similar hurdles in the past. In 2023, we explored budgeting, personal growth, business pitches and more!

Join our mailing list to stay up to date on our upcoming BossUP! Circles in 2024!

The ConnectUP! Mini-Summit is a one-day culturally grounded gathering of curated underestimated Creative entrepreneurs and Freelancers and small business investors that: learn and share with each other, engage in relationship-building, provide best and next practices from the field, as well as engage in active problem solving to build thriving, diverse, and sustainable enterprises and co-design an ecosystem that prioritizes equitable access to resources, capital and networks.

Join our mailing list to stay tuned for details about our next Mini-Summit!

The ConnectUP! Summit is a bi-annual convening that brings together entrepreneurs, investors and entrepreneur support organization leaders from Minnesota and across the country.  For two days, the community gathers for culturally responsive talks, action-driven workshops, deep-relationship building and diverse networking opportunities. With an emphasis on entrepreneur needs and realities, the ConnectUP! Summit provides founders with tools, resources and connections to #LevelUp themselves and their businesses!

Sign up for our newsletter to stay tuned for details about our 2025 ConnectUP! Summit!

💡Are you a marketing maven or a web optimization whiz  or a sales savant? Do you enjoy sharing your expertise with scaling businesses? Join the new Expert Network at ConnectUP! Institute!

Connect with local founders and share your expertise! Our Expert Network is a group of highly accomplished business professionals in Minnesota who volunteer their time to provide 1:1 coaching, workshops, event sessions, high-ROI consulting and other business training.

We know that connections and social capital is a key ingredient to the success of any business venture. We’re dedicated to building the peer and professional networks of the founders in our programs to help engineer their success during and after participation!


Help Us Reach Our $10,000 Give to the Max Day Donation Goal!

Join us for #GivetotheMaxDay this year as we gear up to provide more funding, programming and resources for the local entrepreneurs that bring life to Minnesota with their unique small businesses.