IDEA Competition Deadline
The deadline for entering this year’s IDEA Competition is fast approaching. All applications must be postmarked by November 30. Applicants who submit their entries on or before the early-bird deadline of November 15 pay a discounted application fee.
Since its inception three years ago, the competition has built a reputation for helping local innovators in bringing new products and services to market. Nearly $250,000 has been awarded to Northwest Minnesota innovators, helping local innovators with product engineering, patent filing costs, market feasibility studies, and website development, as well as many other development costs.
The purpose of the competition is to assist the most promising local entrepreneurs in the commercialization of innovative products, processes and deliveries by connecting them to the best resources available, along with access to the capital it takes to launch a successful venture. The competition awards as many as five $10,000 cash prizes each year to winning ideas. There are three rounds to the competition, followed by an awards banquet in Bemidji scheduled for April 25.
IDEA Competition project coordinator, Michelle Landsverk, says the competition is unique. “There are a lot of business plan competitions and a lot of invention competitions out there, but IDEA is distinctive. It’s a hybrid of the two,” Landsverk said. “What we’re really looking for are people with good ideas and a solid plan for turning those ideas into profitable businesses here in Northwest Minnesota.”
The accomplishments of past IDEA winners are impressive: ten are already making sales, with combined sales revenues of $4.3 million; 42 jobs have been created and at least 40 more jobs are projected; and 13 loans have been approved.
IDEA (which stands for Ingenuity Drives Entrepreneur Acceleration) is a project of Ingenuity Frontier, a collaboration of partners joined by a common purpose – to grow the economy of Northwest Minnesota by outfitting the next generation of homegrown innovators for success in the global marketplace. The program has been made possible by the generous financial contributions of the following: 360° Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence, Arvig, Blandin Foundation, Bremer Banks of Crookston and Warren, Headwaters Regional Development Commission, Northwest Minnesota Foundation, Northwest Regional Development Commission, Northwest Regional Small Business Development Center, and University of Minnesota, Crookston.
For more information about the competition or to enter, go to www.ideacompetition.org.