An Invent-to-Innovate Competition presentation.

Invent-to-Innovate (i2i) Competition

Get the tools and funding you need to bring your entrepreneurial ideas to life with this annual competition.

The i2i Business Model Competition helps make your business concept a reality

The i2i Business Model Competition offers university and high school students the chance to win funding for their business ideas. The competition assists aspiring entrepreneurs in the new approach to launching companies, will help them become a more successful entrepreneur and decrease the time it takes for them to reach that success.


Have an idea that needs to be taken to the next level?

  • Transform your idea into reality
  • Win cash prizes to invest into your business concept
  • Get feedback from business leaders and investors

2025 i2i Competition: TBA

How the Competition Works

How the Contest Works

  • Teams can apply online by filling out the online application form and providing some basic information.
  • Your online application needs to include a short video telling us about you and why your innovation will be “the next big thing”.
  • Top teams will be invited to participate in Demo Day at the University of South Dakota Beacom School of Business. During this event, teams will have an opportunity to put their business on display for students and business professionals. In addition, teams will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges that include experienced entrepreneurs and investors. For guidelines to help prepare your Demo Day pitch, see the Resources for Entrepreneurs tab.
  • Winners of the Pitch Competition will receive cash prizes.

Take the First Step to Making Your Idea a Reality

  • One member from your team should complete the online application form.
  • Submit your 2-3 minute video as an attachment to your application.  Your video should explain why your innovation will be the ”next big thing”. Here are some guidelines to consider:
    • Tell us who you are.
    • What problem are you solving and what are you planning to make?
    • How did your project originate?
    • What’s your plan, what’s your timing, and how much money do you need?
    • Why do you care and why should we?
    • Some other tips for your video include:
      • Be playful/have fun
      • Use a combination showing your team present along with great slides or images
      • Consider adding subtitles for impact

Be Prepared for What to Expect from the Competition

During the pitch competition on demonstration day, judges will rank teams pitch performance based on the following criteria:

  1. Is the problem being solved experienced intensely by a large set of people?
  2. How well does the team understand the customer and their willingness to pay?
  3. How feasible and viable is the proposed solution?
  4. Can the solution be protected from imitators (how defensible is the intellectual property/idea)?
  5. Does the team have the right mix of skills to be successful?
  6. Has the team developed a reasonable/believable financial projection?
  7. How achievable is their plan?
  • This competition is open to full-time high-school, university, college, technical or other school students.
  • Entrants may be individuals or groups. Only one award will be given for the idea.
  • You must certify that the idea belongs to your team.
  • Former successful applicants may not reapply with the same idea.
  • If you are applying for an existing business, you may have been in operation for no more than three years, as of the application deadline date.
  • If you are an existing business, annual sales revenues may not exceed $100,000.
  • Teams with both college level and high-school level members should compete in the University Division.
  • The team must have a student who possesses at least a 25% equity stake in the project/company.
  • Presenters may bring samples of their product to show, but may not bring giveaways for the judges.
  • The concepts presented are recognized as confidential and will not be intentionally disclosed outside the committee of judges without the entrant’s permission.

Pitch Presentation Guidelines and Tools for Success

Entrants selected to attend Demo Day will be asked to participate in the Pitch Competition. Guidelines for presenting are as follows:

  • Demo Day pitches are 20 minutes plus 5 minutes for judge’s questions. Make sure you rehearse your pitch well and comply with time restrictions. 
  • It’s recommended that you review the judge’s criteria before preparing your pitch. 
  • A total of 12-20 slides is ideal
  • Dress appropriately
  • A good guideline for entrepreneur pitches can be found in the Canaan Pitch Workbook. Here is a suggested outline:
    • Start with an introduction. Introduce yourself, your company name, why you’re here. Perhaps a 1-sentence explanation of your product such as “We have developed  _______ that helps people ___________ by _______”. 
      Tell us about your highly capable team. Some prefer to introduce the team early on; some prefer to talk about towards the end. Either way, tell us why you have the right people to succeed.
      How big is the problem? Investors want you to solve big problems that impact lots of people. Describe the pain, explain why others haven’t solved it, and present the market size.
      Describe your unique solution. Provide a demo if possible, explain your technology at a high level, and discuss your strategy to protect your intellectual property.
      Explain how you know that customers love your product. Many companies fail because they launch a product that no one wants. Sharing your Customer Discovery experience is a great way to show investors that you understand the market and have confirmed a product-market fit. 
      Tell us how you plan to make money. Recap who your target customer persona is, and your value proposition. Describe your revenue model (including pricing), and tell how you will sell and distribute your product. 
      Resources, costs, and financial projections. Discuss the some of the important resource needs you will have, and prepare a basic financial plan that projects your costs and revenue over the next 3-5 years. Include a high-level summary of your financials, but be prepared to answer questions in some detail.
      Timeline & Next steps. Describe some of the important challenges and activities that you need to do next and what the timeline of your plan looks like.


Video Creation

  • Zoom
  • MS Teams
  • MS Powerpoint
  • Pitch Resources
  • Canaan Pitch Workbook
  • Example Financial Template
  • Business Model Canvas Template
  • Topic Videos by USD Experts

Other Useful Resources

  • Customer Discovery
  • Shark Tank
  • Local help
  • Startup Sioux Falls
  • Sioux City
  • Vermillion
  • SBA

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Entrepreneurship, Management & Marketing

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Beacom Student Services Center

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