State’s first business award competition announced

State's first business award competition announced Gov. Mike Rounds and Business Plan Competition Chairman Brad Wheeler have announced the state's first open competition for entrepreneurs with new business ideas.

The Governor's Giant Vision Business Competition will be hosted by the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry and will have a $20,000 first prize, two $10,000 second prizes and two $2,500 third prizes. The awards event will be held Thursday, April 7, 2005 at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls.

The Governor's 2010 Initiative has brought a sharp focus on advancing the economy and on retaining the state's young people. This competition is offered to show new entrepreneurs that South Dakota is serious about helping business, creating opportunities and proving to young people that they can have any future they desire right here at home.

"One of the main reasons I ran for this office was to help South Dakota have the strongest economy possible," Rounds said. "A vital element to succeeding in this goal is proving to our own citizens and the entire country that South Dakota is the very best place to start a successful business. The Governor's Giant Vision Business Awards have been established to help accomplish this mission."

In addition to cash awards, the competition will bring people with new business ideas together with judges and other invited guests who have business development experience and several who have a capacity to make venture investments.

The event is being underwritten by the following sponsors: Black Hills Corporation of Rapid City; Christiansen Land & Cattle, Ltd. of Kimball; Daktronics, Inc. of Brookings; Dacotah Banks of Aberdeen, First National Bank South Dakota of Yankton; Home Federal Bank of Sioux Falls; Toshiba America Business Solutions of Mitchell; US Bank of Sioux Falls and Wheeler Manufacturing of Lemmon. Gov. Rounds pledged $30,000 in matching funds to help launch this program.

Those entering the Governor's Giant Vision Business Competition will submit a written business plan that outlines the business idea, potential markets, production requirements (if any) and other standard items. Contact the State Chamber at 800-742-8112 to request more information or an application packet.

A panel of judges will review each business plan and invite qualifying entries to meet the judges and make a series of presentations at the competition in April. At the event, each business team will be given space for a tabletop booth in a trade show type environment. Part of the judging will be done during this trade show as officials mingle informally, meeting the competitors. Invitations will be sent to venture capital firms and other financiers to be at the event to meet these potential future businesses first hand.

There are no eligibility criteria for submitting a business plan and the Governor hopes to see ideas from many South Dakotans, including university students, students at technical schools and innovative individuals in the workplace with ideas for their own business. The competition is also open to experienced entrepreneurs with new ideas that they believe would benefit from the review and analysis process of the competition.

The winning team and second place winners will have the opportunity to enter the national "World's Best Technologies Competition." This competition will expose these new South Dakota businesses to regional and national investors, as well as potential mentors who have created some of the most successful businesses in the world. This opportunity to enter the World's Best Technologies Competition is made possible through the South Dakota Enterprise Institute.

The application deadline is Feb. 7, 2005.

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