Business Plan Competition at SD Mines Opens

Business Plan Competition at SD Mines Open to Enterprising High School Students, Other Colleges


RAPID CITY, SD (Sept. 4, 2018) – Entrepreneurial-minded students from high schools and colleges throughout the region are encouraged to enter a “Shark Tank”-like student business plan competition sponsored by local and state partners and hosted by the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

The CEO Student Business Plan Competition will host the first of several face-to-face information sessions next week. Teams will train with mentors throughout the semester and will pitch their business plans on Dec. 1 for the chance to win thousands of dollars in start-up money.

SD Mines has opened the competition to all West River high schools, as well as neighboring higher education institutions Black Hills State University, Western Dakota Tech, National American University and Chadron State College.

“This is the fifth year of this competition and every year the community support for the competition grows, and the level of competition increases. We are very excited for this year and can’t wait to see these bright young entrepreneurs share their ideas with us” said Joseph Wright, SD Mines associate vice president for research and economic development.

Participants attend on-campus business plan training and throughout the semester will receive assistance from the Small Business Development Center in preparing financial statements, as well as mentoring from local business leaders and SD Mines’ Entrepreneurs-in-Residence.

Student competitors will get the opportunity to learn from lead mentor Darren Haar, one of 38 SD Mines’ Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. Haar was previously global business director of Microcircuit Materials for DuPont before leaving to pursue other ventures, including spinning off technologies developed at SD Mines.

Judges include former executives of Fortune 500s, heads of angel funds and local business leaders.

Teams may also take their business plans to compete statewide at the South Dakota Governor’s Giant Vision Awards. Students who have competed in the CEO Competition have gone on to win the Governor’s Giant Vision Award the last four years.

In the past, student business plans have ranged from an intelligent wheelchair and energy saving window films to guidance devices for the blind and subterranean salt caverns for natural gas storage.

2018 CEO Competition sponsors are Ascent Innovation, Big D Oil, Golden West Technology and Internet Solutions, Regional Health, South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Darren Haar, Sioux Steel Company and West River Electric Association.

Click here to learn more about the competition.


2018 CEO Student Business Plan Competition Key Dates

  • Sept. 11 & 13, 5 p.m. Surbeck Center, McKeel Room – Information sessions
  • Sept. 28 – Email intent to compete
  • Oct. 4, 4 p.m. in Classroom Building RM 203 – Business plan training
  • Oct. 15 week – Mentor support
  • Oct. 29 week – Training on business financials
  • Nov. 16 – Submit business plan
  • Nov. 19 week – Notification of semi-finalists
  • Dec. 1 – Finalist pitches and awards





Lynn Taylor Rick:
Strategic Communications Coordinator, University Relations
Work: 605.394.2554 • Cell: 605.431.9818


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525 University Loop
Rapid City, SD 57701


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