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Two Bemidji finalists in IDEA Competition

Bemidji residents Jason LaValley and John Szurpicki have been named IDEA Competition finalists in this year's contest for breakthrough business ideas.

LaValley and Szurpicki will make their final presentations May 4 to a panel of judges in Crookston. The winners of the competition will be announced at the IDEA Competition Awards Banquet 5-8:30 p.m. May 5 at Beaux Arts Ballroom at Bemidji State University.

The field of competitors started at 66 and was narrowed to 16 people who were asked to provide a more detailed business plan. The finalists were selected from this group, including LaValley and Szurpicki. As many as five winners will each receive $10,000 to advance his or her idea.

The main goal of the IDEA competition is to assist 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.

The IDEA Competition Awards Banquet is open to the public, but registration is required. Visit the Web site for more information. Contact Project Manager Michelle Landsverk at 218-435-2834 with questions.

IDEA sponsors are Bremer Bank of 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, Northland Community and Technical College. IDEA was made possible through a grant from the Blandin Foundation.