Mines News

Release Date Monday, September 12, 2016

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

RAPID CITY, S.D. (Sept. 12, 2016) – Entrepreneurial-minded students from high schools and colleges throughout the region are being 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 and online information sessions this week. Teams will train with mentors throughout the semester and on Dec. 3 will pitch their business plans 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, Western Dakota Tech, National American University and Chadron State.

“This is our third year to host the business plan competition and it keeps getting better, with lots of mentoring and interaction between students and business leaders. We are encouraging high schools and other college students to compete to spread the culture of entrepreneurship in the region,” said SD Mines President Heather Wilson.

Participants must attend the 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.

“This is a fantastic event that would give our students real-world experience and possibly jumpstart their careers as business entrepreneurs and professionals. I’d encourage our students to take advantage of this opportunity to showcase their cutting-edge business plans,” Rapid City Area Schools Superintendent Dr. Lori Simon said.

Student competitors will get the opportunity to learn from lead mentor Darren Haar, one of 27 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 two years.

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

2016 CEO Competition sponsors are 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 and West River Electric Association.

Click on this link to learn more about the competition: http://www.sdsmt.edu/Research/Economic-Development/SD-Mines-CEO-Program/

2016 CEO Student Business Plan Competition Key Dates

  • Sept. 13 & 22, 5 p.m. Surbeck Center, McKeel Room – Information sessions
  • Sept. 26 – Email intent to compete
  • Oct. 4 – Business plan training
  • Oct. 10 week – Mentor support
  • Oct. 31 week – Training on business financials
  • Nov. 14 – Submit business plan
  • Nov. 21 week – Notification of semi-finalists
  • Dec. 3 – Finalist pitches and awards


About SD Mines  

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,778 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. The SD School of Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $61,300. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat

Contact: Fran LeFort, (605) 394-6082, Fran.LeFort@sdsmt.edu