Finalists for 2022 IDEA Competition announced

Three finalists have been named for this year’s IDEA Competition, a program that rewards local innovators and entrepreneurs.

IDEA Competition art .jpg
Registration is now open for the 14th annual IDEA Competition.
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BEMIDJI — The Northwest Minnesota Foundation has announced three finalists for the annual IDEA Competition, which identifies promising ideas and entrepreneurs.

Previous winners have been awarded cash prizes and follow-up assistance in developing their business idea.

This year’s top three finalists are:

  • Cook Family Farm, LLC from Kenna, Chloe and Rocky Cook of Bemidji. Their idea expands the development and sale of dryer balls made from alpaca fibers and organic soil enhancers.
  • Community Voice from Megan Pederson of Fertile. This idea would develop a mobile app to facilitate community engagement, increase transparency among community leaders and connect people to services and events.
  • Motor-grader Debris Blower from Merlin Olson of Lengby. This idea is for a debris blower that would attach to a road grader, helping to quickly and easily clear debris from roadways.

According to a release, these three finalists were chosen from 16 participants to enter into the competition this year, and their final presentations will be held in early April before a winner is selected in May.
The criteria for judging these business plans include business opportunities, models, strengths of the entrepreneur team, financial strength and the strength of the marketing plan.

Since its inception, the IDEA Competition has awarded more than $450,000 in cash prizes and $32,000 of in-kind awards, the release said.

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