Over the past six months, you’ve likely read about AURI taking new steps to further develop its business model. These steps are the result of a legislative audit and efforts to better align with the Minnesota State statute that governs the organization. The Minnesota legislature has been an amazing partner and supporter of AURI over the years and these new steps will better leverage the state funds to provide new and better services to enhance food and agricultural innovation commercialization across the state.

So far, this includes the pursuit of revenue from intellectual property, registration fees to cover event costs, and financial resources from charitable giving. This month, AURI takes the next step in its efforts by implementing a partial fee for service business model, where clients pay a percentage of the overall project cost while the remainder continues to be subsidized by AURI.

Rest assured AURI’s priority is maintaining existing relationships—always with the objective of adding value to Minnesota agricultural products and helping Minnesota entrepreneurs successfully bring their innovative products to market.

Equally important in this transition is our desire to keep AURI services accessible and affordable to smaller companies – those who most need AURI services and can yield the greatest benefit from them. To that end, AURI has developed a tiered, sliding scale structure for this new model that should have minimum impact on those smaller businesses, farmers and entrepreneurs:

Client-Company

Annual Gross Revenue

Percentage of Project Cost

Paid by Client

Less than $250,000

20

$250,000 to $5 million

33

5 million to $100 million

50

More than $100 million

100

As you can see, AURI assistance remains very affordable with the subsidized cost structure. Small business owners and entrepreneurs will pay as little as 20 percent of the project costs, which equates to about $15.00/hour for professional technical services, for initial idea advancement.

Please note also that AURI will continue to provide important free resources, including the initial project development efforts, as well as webinars and workshops that serve clients and potential clients at all revenue levels. And, as we do now, each year we will disseminate information from multiple industry initiatives that can help advance ideas into commercial reality.

This latest step to enhance AURI’s resources will allow the organization to directly reinvest into new project resources so it can provide more and better services to its business clients. This, in turn, has the potential to strengthen AURI’s ability to help businesses and entrepreneurs, while reducing their wait time for initiating a project.

I understand this is a change from how we have provided services in the past and as such, I am happy to discuss it with you further or answer any questions you may have. Feel free to contact me at sschlecht@auri.org.

By Shannon Schlecht
AURI Executive Director