Many companies doing business in Minnesota must register with the Minnesota Secretary of State, annually filing their name, address, registered agent for service of process, an officer’s contact information, and other data. Minnesota corporations and limited liability companies generally also file their articles of organization or articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State.
On occasion, this information can be useful to third parties, and much of it is available through the Secretary of State’s website. For example, the online records show that 3M, a quintessential Minnesota company, is actually a “foreign” corporation, having been incorporated in Delaware, though 3M has also been registered in Minnesota since August 6, 1929. And though actual copies of documents filed with Secretary of State are not visible online, the website allows users to request hard copies of the filings by selecting the document desired and clicking a button.
For publicly traded companies, of course, the Securities & Exchange Commission’s searchable website provides much more information through regularly required federal securities filings. But if you’re looking for background on a private Minnesota company, the Minnesota Secretary of State’s page may be a good place to start.
(In Wisconsin, try the Department of Financial Institutions.)
 Many companies based in other states choose to incorporate in Delaware, to take advantage of Delaware’s well-developed corporate laws and judicial precedents. In fact, Delaware claims more than one million business entities.