IDEA competition names winners – Crookston Times
Northwest Minnesota Foundation
The 14th season of the IDEA competition has named its winners.
Fertile’s Megan Pederson is the big winner of this season’s competition. She won $10,000 in cash for her idea, Community Voice, a mobile app to serve communities by increasing community engagement, increasing transparency among community leaders, and connecting people to services.
Also as part of her prize package, Pederson was named the 2022 Minnesota Cup semi-finalist for Northwestern Minnesota and will also have the opportunity to compete in that statewide competition. The Minnesota Cup is a public-private partnership that supports Minnesota entrepreneurs through an annual competition that connects participants with education, mentorship and support to launch and accelerate their new businesses.
“Supporting and rewarding local innovators is the goal of the IDEA competition,” said Mic McCrory, program specialist at the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, which serves as the program coordinator. “We’re thrilled with the variety of ideas we considered this year, and these three winners represent the best of innovation in northern Minnesota.”
The finalists of the IDEA competition have won numerous prizes.
Bemidji’s Kenna, Chloe and Rocky Cook won $4,000 in cash and an in-kind prize from Evolve Creative which provides up to $2,500 in marketing services. The idea of the trio extends to the development and sale of dryer balls made from alpaca fibers and organic amendments made from alpaca manure. The whole family operates Cook Family Farm, but this specific business is run by 18-year-old Kenna, 16-year-old Chloe and 15-year-old Rocky.
Merlin Olson from Lengby won $1,000 in cash, as well as in-kind prizes. His idea for the Grader Debris Blower involves a debris blower that can be attached to a road grader, making it quick and easy to clear debris from roads.
Its in-kind rewards include:
– $5,000 engineering and technical writing services from LVI Supply
– $5,000 in patent and trademark legal services through HSML Law in Minneapolis
– $5,000 of services through IDEA Works for general advice, including advanced business planning, facility acquisition and vendor selection
Sixteen participants took part in this year’s IDEA competition. Upon entry, each entrepreneur is registered with the Northwest Minnesota Small Business Development Center and is paired with an SBDC consultant, who provides expert guidance and assistance as their idea develops.
The IDEA Competition, which is managed and coordinated by the Northwest Small Business Development Center, was designed for one purpose: to grow the economy of Northwest Minnesota by equipping the next generation of local innovators to succeed in the global marketplace. . The program identifies the most promising ideas and entrepreneurs through a competitive process, awards cash and in-kind prizes to winners, and provides intensive follow-up assistance.
Since its inception, the IDEA competition has awarded more than $465,000 in cash prizes and $50,000 in in-kind prizes.
The prizes are made possible, in large part, by the sponsors who support the contest, including LaValley Industries, itself a two-time winner; Minnkota Energy Cooperative; Northwest Minnesota Foundation; and the North West SBDC.