The competition, which started in 2015, is a Shark Tank style competition that gives students the opportunity to present their business plan ideas, receive constructive feedback from a panel of judges and compete for prize money. Modifications to this year’s program included a video pitch that was reviewed by judges with comments and feedback being shared back with the teams. The program was launched to foster entrepreneurial education and interest among high school and college students throughout the region.

A total of 14 high school teams and 15 college teams pitched their business ideas for this year’s competition. Finalists in the high school category included eight teams from three different schools. The university category had 10 teams from six different universities.

Winners of the Competition Included:

University Track

  • $2,000 – 1st Place: “Aqua Smart Solutions” – Maryam Amouamouha; South Dakota School of Mines, South Dakota
  • $1,500 – 2nd Place: “SuperMoto” – Giselle Mawadri and Luca Amayo; Augustana University, South Dakota
  • $1,000 – 3rd Place: “HomeMetrics, LLC” – William Trevillyan, Tim Ford, Riley Kopp, Mike Ahlers, Mitchell Peterson, Field Mitchell, Antonio Bano-Sanoguera, Fernando Chavez and Vytas Solderholm,; South Dakota School of Mines, South Dakota

High School Track

  • $1,000 – 1st Place: “PupPod/PupPad” – Paige Pederson, Olivia Regnerus and Sophia Jerke; Vermillion High School, South Dakota
  • $750 – 2nd Place: “International Gifts” – Kylie Wiese and Aman Fatima; Sioux City Community Schools – Career Academy, Iowa
  • $500 – 3rd Place: Tie:
    • “Weightless Backpack” – Kaurie Lucas; Vermillion High School, South Dakota
    • “Reads & Riches” – Clara Engle; Florence High School, South Dakota

This year’s competition included the following guest judges:

  • Blaine Crissman, South Dakota Equity Partners
  • Courtney Deinert, Service Now
  • Brienne Maner, Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Dustin Pratt, Portfolio Analyst, Avalon Capital Group 
  • Michael Roach, Dakota State University
  • Karla Santi, Blend Interactive
  • Sue Stoll, South Dakota Small Business Development Center
  • Mel Ustad, Director, Governor’s Office of Economic Development / SD EPSCoR
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