Beacom School of Business Competition Seeks Student Entrepreneurs

Invent to Innovate logo The i2i Business Model Competition offers university and high school students the chance to win funding for their business ideas.

VERMILLION, S.D. – High school and college students are invited to submit their best ideas for a new business during the Beacom School of Business Invent-to-Innovate (i2i) Business Model Competition at the University of South Dakota.

High school and college students will compete separately, submitting a business idea and experimenting in the field to gain a better understanding of real-world challenges affecting startup companies.

“The idea of a business model competition is to encourage students to not only come up with ideas but to start making them happen. The entrepreneurial process is about learning what works and what doesn’t,” said Howard Haines, an entrepreneurship instructor at the Beacom School of Business.

“Using tools like a business model canvas provides a framework for the uncertainty of starting a new business,” he said. “It allows aspiring entrepreneurs to know what kinds of questions they need to answer through experiments and action.”

Haines said there is a critical need for this type of hands-on training. “Over 85 percent of new businesses fail within a few years, often because they don’t survive first contact with customers,” he said. “The Invent-to-Innovate Business Model Competition wants to change that by educating and inspiring smarter entrepreneurs who in turn launch more successful ventures.”

In order to compete, students must submit a video presentation explaining their idea, the action they’ve taken to test their business model, and what they’ve learned or changed from their original plans. Submissions must be received through the i2i website,, by March 11, 2017, at 11:59 p.m.

Finalists will be announced by March 18, 2017, and they will compete for prize money during the i2i live competition held at the Beacom School of Business on March 31, 2017. Guest judges include John Meyer, Co-Founder/CEO of Lemonly, Chad Hatch, Partner at Bird Dog Equity Partners, Paul Ten Haken, CEO of Click Rain, and Sue Stoll, Regional Director of the South Dakota Small Business Development Center.

Visit the Invent to Innovate website for more information or contact Howard Haines at


USD's Beacom School of Business was established in 1927 and has been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) since 1949. The leading business school in the region, Beacom’s programs are consistently ranked among the top business schools in the nation by Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report and others for its high-quality learning experience, student success, affordability, and high-caliber of faculty and students. Whether a student chooses face-to-face or online courses, Beacom’s programs emphasize real-world experience through professional organizations, quality internships and capstone projects.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.