IDEA Competition offers cash to northwest MN innovators

On Oct. 1, entrepreneurs in northwest Minnesota may begin submitting applications for the sixth annual IDEA Competition. Sponsored by the Northwest Minnesota Foundation and multiple other organizations and private businesses, the 2014 competition offers the chance for three applicants to take home $10,000 to support their innovative ideas.

The competition is designed to help local entrepreneurs commercialize their product or process by connecting them with resources and supplying access to capital. The competition has awarded nearly $300,000 to local entrepreneurs to date and is unique because it is a hybrid of a business plan competition and an invention competition, according to project coordinator Michelle Landsverk. “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,” she says.

Past winners say the competition provides more than just cash. It also gives participants the chance get public feedback and make connections that can help them take their idea to the next level.

Additional sponsors of the competition include 360 degrees Manufacturing and Applied Engineering ATE Regional Center of Excellence, Arvig, Blandin Foundation, Border State Banks, Bremer Banks of Crookston and Warren, Minnkota Power, the Northwest Regional Small Business Development Center, Ultima Bank Minnesota and the University of Minnesota Crookston.

For more information, visit