University Enterprise Labs (UEL)

Home to innovators in Healthcare, MedTech, and Life Sciences in Minnesota’s startup community




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Lab space is hard to find, especially in a thriving urban area like the Twin Cities.

University Enterprise Labs, or UEL, meets a critical need for startups in Minnesota. UEL is an incubator for startups, and is home to fortyfive growth companies, including industry spinouts, ventures based on university research, and independent entrepreneurs.

Fifteen years ago, researchers were struggling to find affordable and accessible spaces to commercialize technology. Founded in 2004, UEL is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, with a mission to support early stage companies in life sciences. UEL’s location is ideal –strategically positioned on the border of St. Paul and Minneapolis, near public transit and close to the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus. UEL is part of the Towerside Innovation District – a place to live, work, and learn.

UEL has a customizable, state-of-the-art location, with 33 full-size wet labs, dry labs, conference, and office space in a 144,000 sq. ft. facility. A new addition opened in May 2019 to meet the increased demand that comes with a fast-growing startup community.

But as any innovator knows, it’s not just about the space. UEL offers supportive programming and a connected network for any startup, early-stage and growth company operating in the fields of Life Science, Biotech, Agriculture, Healthcare, MedTech / Medical Device, and Analytics. UEL is actively engaged in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Minnesota, and hosts events in partnership with Twin Cities Startup Week, Forge North, Medical Alley Association, and many others.

With a critical mass of innovators, some crazy things start to happen. Some of our favorites include the annual UEL Barbecue and Showcase (which features local entrepreneurs and attracts over a thousand attendees) and a Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Social.

In 2019, UEL was selected to be one of thirteen strategic accelerators in the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA/DRIVe) network. This approach to facing the country’s biggest national health security and biotech threats provides a unique access to national exposure and funding for our local healthcare and biotech innovators. DRIVe (Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures) is charged with:

“accelerating the development and availability of transformative technologies and approaches to protect Americans from health security threats. This unique public-private initiative enlists teams throughout the nation to identify promising solutions wherever innovation is happening.”

Minnesota is proud to be recognized as a leader in healthcare, bioscience, and medical devices. And UEL is uniquely positioned to support innovators in these fields to start, grow, and thrive.

• Incubator/Accelerator Services: including wet and dry labs, secured private quarters, customized assistance with SBIR/STTR funding request preparation, educational seminars, networking events and online resources
• On-Site Business Services: office services, high-speed internet, conference spaces, secured package receiving, loading dock for shipping and receiving
• Event Center Conference Space: space for up to 100 attendees (conference center)
• University of Minnesota Genomics Center: extends on-site genomic technologies and services to UEL companies and access to University of Minnesota researchers and clinicians

To support early-stage ventures to growth and commercial success through connections, services, and world-class laboratory facilities in Minnesota’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.

To shape and support Minnesota’s next generation of life sciences companies.

“We need to look at the sustainability of entrepreneurship ecosystems, not just at their growth. It’s vital to create an environment with all stakeholders in which a company can start, grow, learn and invest back into the ecosystem.”
–Diane Rucker, Executive Director University Enterprise Laboratories

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