Business Plan Competition recognizes outstanding young entrepreneurs

Heartland sponsors contest targeted at youth in customer communities

Be the Future, Change the Future.

That was the challenge Dakota State University (DSU) recently presented to young entrepreneurs with its Business Plan Competition.

Organized by DSU’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO) Club, college and high school students were asked to conceive of a new service or product offering and create a business plan and elevator pitch detailing how their new business would operate and succeed.

Heartland joined the Lake Area Improvement Corporation as co-sponsors of the competition. As such, the contest targeted high school students within Heartland’s customer communities, from Grove City, Minnesota to Valentine, Nebraska.

The contest garnered 26 submissions in the high school division and 10 in the college division. Entries were narrowed down to a pool of finalists and three winners were selected from each division. For both divisions, first place winners received $1,000, second place $500, and third place $250.

“We support entrepreneurs of all ages, especially those within our customer region,” said Heartland Director of Economic Development and Governmental Affairs Casey Crabtree. “Competitions like this help young people develop the skills and experience to turn their dreams into reality.”

Crabtree also served as a judge in a portion of the competition.

“The students were innovative, organized and motivated, and shared some really terrific ideas,” said Crabtree. “As our next generation of business leaders, they show a lot of promise.”

DSU winners

First place: Grant Carlson
OpticSuite

OpticSuite is a software program using artificial intelligence to help display the optimal footage during events. It can be added to existing hardware or installed with a new camera system. The software will take all camera footage being recorded and adjust cameras to provide the best viewing angle for spectators in stadiums and larger venues.

Second place: Elizabeth Olson
Lzrd Designs

Lzrd Designs aims to reduce the negative impacts of fast fashion. Fabrics and printing processes used in fast fashion often use chemicals and materials that are harmful to the environment. Lzrd Designs will use water-based inks and entirely recycled or sustainably-sourced fabrics to have a positive environmental impact and provide safe working conditions for employees.

Third place: Andrew Rotert
Developed Not Downloaded

Developed Not Downloaded is a platform to connect businesses looking for software development with software engineers, developers and firms. The business would create a database sharing what businesses are looking to have developed, anything from a website or mobile app to desktop software. Developers would then be able to bid for projects.

High school winners

First place: Erica Ingerson, Eureka High School
Stubborn Stitches

Stubborn Stitches will provide embroidery and sewing services to its clients in Eureka, SD and the surrounding area in an organized and friendly environment. Customers will be able to place embroidery and sewing orders by calling or by visiting Stubborn Stitches during business hours. There will be some products Stubborn Stitches will make and sell, while the majority of sales will entail customizing personal designs for individual customers.

Second place: Trey Sejnoha, Brandon Valley High School
Mr. Clean’s Laundromat

Brandon, SD is lacking a laundromat where people can go, sit down, relax, and get their clothes washed.  Laundromats are usually seen as unsafe areas. People don’t typically enjoy going to the laundromat, and there is nothing there to keep them entertained. At Mr. Clean’s Laundromat we will be introducing a snack bar along with the highest quality washers and dryers to clean clothes quickly.  While their clothes are getting washed customers can enjoy the snack bar, and check out the 82 inch flat screen TV.  Mr. Clean’s Laundromat will have free Wi-Fi, lounge seating, a snack bar, and an overall light, bright feel.  To handle customers’ tight schedules Mr. Clean’s Laundromat will offer a pickup and drop-off service and a wash-dry-fold service.

Third place: Seth Thury, Arlington High School
Clean Cut Lawn and Landscape

Clean Cut’s mission is to create lifelong customers by providing a quality, consistent, dependable service to everyone one of their clients. They want to make the customer experience top priority, realizing that the best form of advertising is by word of mouth. Clean Cut’s primary service offering is weekly lawn care and landscape maintenance to residential and commercial clients. They also offer a variety of landscape maintenance and renovation services.