Mines News

Release Date Monday, December 9, 2019

Women Student Entrepreneurs Take Home 5 Out of 6 Top Prizes in 2019 “Shark Tank” Style Competition

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology doctoral student Anahita Haghizadeh won this year’s CEO Business Plan Competition with her business NanoHSink. She is seen here with Mines President Dr. Jim Rankin.   

RAPID CITY, SD (Dec. 9, 2019) — The sixth annual CEO Business Plan Competition at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology wrapped up Saturday with female students taking home all but one of the top prizes. The competition is themed after the popular television program “Shark Tank,” which challenges entrepreneurs to present a business plan to a panel of expert judges.

The winners took home more than $7,000 in total prize money that can be used toward their business ideas.

South Dakota Mines doctoral student Anahita Haghizadeh nabbed top prize with her business proposal, NanoHSink, winning the $3,000 award. NanoHSink focuses on fabricating nanostructures to increase surface area for heat sink materials for LED bulbs.   

Maryam Amouamouha, a Mines doctoral student, took home the second-place award of $2,000 and the first-place award of $1,000 in the Best Agricultural Plan category with her company Aqua Smart Solutions. The business would provide green, stand-alone and advanced systems for residential and commercial wastewater treatment.   

Third place went to Carissa Hauck and Bianca Hutzler, Black Hills State University, for their business Scobi Kombucha. Hauck and Hutzler took home $1,000 for their kombucha business.

In the high school category, Rapid City Stevens High School student Elizabeth Wright took top prize for her business proposal Wild Yarrow Designs, and Paul Wehrung of Spearfish took second place for his proposal Romulus & Remus. Wright takes home $500. 

The competition is open 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. Participants in the SD Mines CEO Program attend on-campus business plan training throughout the semester and 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

Teams who compete in the SD Mines CEO Program often take their business plans to compete statewide at the South Dakota Governor’s Giant Vision Awards. Mines students who have competed in the CEO Competition have gone on to win the Governor’s Giant Vision Award the last five years.

In the past, student business plans have ranged from a vortex generator and energy saving window films to guidance devices for the blind. 

CEO Competition sponsors are Black Hills Energy, 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 Office of the President, Darren Haar, Sioux Steel Company, and West River Electric Association.


About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.

Contact: Lynn Taylor Rick, (605) 394-2554, Lynn.TaylorRick@sdsmt.edu

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