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Thursday, October 04, 2018

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Youth! Entrepreneurship! Cash! Scholarships!

These are the key ingredients in the 2018 BIG Idea Competition, which launched on September 1. High school students across South Dakota are invited to compete in this business idea competition where winners will receive over $5,500 in cash awards and scholarships.

Students may work individually or as a team and will be able to submit their business idea applications online until October 31, 2018. The online application as well as various resources and examples can be accessed at the BIG Idea website: For the optional marketing design competition, which carries a $500 cash prize, students will create an ad to support their business idea. New this year is a Food Animal Agriculture Category sponsored by Midwest Ag Supply, which offers an additional $500 cash prize for the best business idea in this category. Sanford Health is again sponsoring a Wellness Category, which also has a $500 cash prize.

Coordinator Kelly Weaver of the Small Business Development Center said, “Understanding the basics of business is important to students, regardless of their career path. The BIG Idea Competition is a great way for students to in learn about those business basics. For those students interested in pursuing a business, we can connect them with resources and mentors to help further their entrepreneurial growth and business success. We are also excited to be offering even more prizes this year.”

All applications submitted by the deadline will be reviewed and ranked by judges across the state. The eight top scoring entries will be invited to the final competition and will make a presentation for the final judging component. The top three applications will receive cash awards of $1,000, $500 and $250, respectively. College scholarships to both Northern State University and Presentation College will be awarded as well. One winner will be chosen from among all the marketing design entries, and one winner each will be chosen for the Wellness Category and the Food Animal Agriculture Category. All winners will be recognized at the final competition.

The final competition and awards event will be held on Wednesday, December 5, at Northern State University in Aberdeen. Students will participate in various activities surrounding entrepreneurship. Prior to the awards presentation, all finalists will give an elevator pitch of their business idea.

Since inception in 2007, the BIG Idea Competition has received over 2,100 entries involving over 3,000 students from 88 schools. The competition is open to any high school student in the state. The winning entry in 2017 was Dakota Cubs, by Christian Westhoff of McCook Central High School. A complete listing of the 2017 finalists can be found on the BIG Idea website along with a video of their elevator pitches.

The competition is organized by a broad based committee of economic development organizations, educational institutions, and private businesses and coordinated by the Small Business Development Center. Sponsors include Sanford Health, East River Electric, REED Fund, Dacotah Bank, First Premier Bank, Midwest Ag Supply, Northwestern Energy, Northern State University, Presentation College, McQuillen Creative Group, Aberdeen Development Corporation, the Tom and Danielle Aman Foundation, and GROW South Dakota. Questions regarding the competition can be directed to Kelly Weaver of the Small Business Development Center at (605) 626-2565 or

Category: GROW SD

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The GROW South Dakota Organizations Have had a Remarkable Few Years!

Grow South Dakota deployed 172 down payment and closing cost loans for a total of $1.17 million, paired with $25.2 million in partner first mortgages.

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GROW South Dakota

GROW South Dakota
104 Ash Street East | Sisseton, SD  57262
Phone (605) 698-7654 | Fax (605) 698-3038