As host of the Governor’s Giant Vision entrepreneurial business competition, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry event Chairman Brad Wheeler, President of Wheeler Manufacturing, announced the top winners of the 2020 business and student business competitions.
After a preliminary judging process that reduced the field of applicants to eight qualifying business and ten qualifying student entries, the competition concluded with online presentations and judging on April 20 and 21. The coronavirus pandemic forced the cancelation of the event as originally planned and the competition was completed by using online technology that allowed everyone involved to participate remotely.
2020 marks the sixteenth year of the Giant Vision Business Competition. The following winners were selected as this year’s entrepreneurial standouts.
The first place $20,000 winner was Novum Nano, LLC, Craig Bailey and Greg Christensen, Rapid City, with their advanced materials and process technology and manufacturing start-up company specializing in boron nitride and carbon fiber nanotube innovative research with applications in a broad range of industrial markets.
In second place, winning $10,000, was HomeMetrics, LLC, William Trevillyan and Timothy Ford, Rapid City. This company produces an Internet of Things-driven wireless sensor network that monitors and controls the health of a home’s plumbing and electrical grids.
Tied for third place, winning $4,000 each, were:
Innoraymond Power Products, Will Hansen, Rapid City, with his Soft Starters technology designed to address the safety hazards, technical issues, inconveniences and nuisances related to the excessive inrush of electrical current with AC motor drive equipment like power tools.
Scobi Kombucha, Carissa Hauck and Bianca Hutzler, Spearfish, for their organic kombucha , a probiotic fermented tea, available in multiple flavors that has been distributed wholesale and recently started direct sales.
In fifth place, winning $2,000, was A to Z Technologies, Cole Briggs and Zay Norman, with their PrickGuard needle exchange system designed for animal vaccinations. The product allows for the user to safely grab and remove a used aluminum hub needle on one side and holds a new sterile needle on the other side to quickly and safely switch needles.
The remaining qualifiers received $500 each to help with the expenses of participation.
Sponsors of the Giant Vision Business Competition: the South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem; Black Hills Energy; Christiansen Land & Cattle Ltd.; Dacotah Bank; First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard; MidAmerican Energy; Valley Queen Cheese Factory; Wheeler Manufacturing and Xcel Energy.
The Giant Vision Competition is a program of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, located in Pierre. SD Chamber President David Owen stated, “The goal of this program is to encourage people to explore being a business owner and to create an exciting future while also expanding South Dakota’s economy. We have worked hard to produce an event that will benefit all of the businesses participating. While the prize money will help the finalists, the contacts and rigor required to be a qualifier will prepare each entrepreneur to advance their business idea.”