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IDEA Competition open again

The IDEA Competition can add momentum to business strategy, whether a competitor is already in business or has never started a company.

IDEA, which stands for Ingenuity Drives Entrepreneur Acceleration, is a project of Ingenuity Frontier, a collaboration of partners joined by a common purpose - to grow the economy of Northwest Minnesota by outfitting the next generation of homegrown innovators for success in the global marketplace.

Although IDEA can be described as a competition, it is a lot more. IDEA is about assisting promising local entrepreneurs in the commercialization of innovative products, processes and deliveries by connecting them to the best resources available, along with access to the capital it takes to launch a successful venture.

Last year, 61 participants were narrowed to four winners. Each was awarded $10,000 cash along with another $10,000 in technical assistance to help develop their business ideas.

Recognition goes beyond cash awards.

"The exposure my business has received from the IDEA Competition has been incredible," said Eric Thorsgard of the Forte Keyboard Company in Bemidji.

Applications will be accepted from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1.

IDEA sponsors are Bremer Bank, Crookston and Warren; Northwest Minnesota Foundation, 360? Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence, University of Minnesota, Crookston, and the Northwest Regional Small Business Development Center.

Partners include Ingenuity Frontier, Bemidji State University, Center for Research and Innovation/Custom College, Enterprise Minnesota, Headwaters Regional Development Commission, Innovate ND, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, and Northland Community and Technical College.

IDEA was made possible through a grant from the Blandin Foundation.

For details, call Michelle Landsverk at 218-435-2834, send e-mail to or visit

Register on the Web site.