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IDEA deadline Nov. 30

Entrepreneurs with breakthrough business ideas have until the Nov. 30 deadline to enter the second annual IDEA Competition.

There are three rounds to the competition. Nov. 30 will mark the close of round one, during which a panel of judges will review all the applications and advance the highest-scoring ideas to the second round.

According to Project Coordinator Michelle Landsverk, both the quantity of registrations and the quality of the ideas coming in has been impressive.

"Judging by the number of applications we have already received, we anticipate a 20 percent increase in the number of applications this year," Landsverk said.

The final two rounds of the competition will be followed by an awards banquet in Bemidji in early May. At the banquet, five entrepreneurs will each receive $10,000 to advance their business ideas.

In addition to the chance of winning a cash award, entrepreneurs who participated last year found that simply going through the competition helped them to refine their ideas and develop better business plans.

The main goal of the IDEA competition is to assist 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.

For details on the process, judging criteria and competition guidelines, visit

IDEA (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.

IDEA sponsors are Bremer Bank, Crookston and Warren, Northwest Minnesota Foundation, 360 Degree 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, Northland Community and Technical College. IDEA was made possible through a grant from the Blandin Foundation.