Mines News

Release Date Friday, September 8, 2017

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

Henry Wegehaupt, a recent SD Mines graduate in electrical engineering, tied for first place in the student division at the South Dakota Governor’s Giant Vision Awards in 2017. Students who have competed in the CEO Competition have gone on to win the Governor’s Giant Vision Award.




RAPID CITY, S.D. (Sept. 8, 2017) – 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. 2 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 has truly become a regional competition, last year teams from Black Hills State and Rapid City High Schools competed and won prize money” 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.

“Each year, this event provides relevant experience, and an opportunity to help young entrepreneurs kick-start their careers. I want to encourage our Rapid City Area Schools students to take part in this real-world learning opportunity. At the very least, students who participate will walk away from the experience with a greater understanding about what goes into a business plan pitch,” said RCAS Superintendent Dr. Lori Simon.

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 three 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.

2017 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, Darren Haar, Sioux Steel Company 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/

2017 CEO Student Business Plan Competition Key Dates

·         Sept. 12 & 21, 5 p.m. Surbeck Center, McKeel Room – Information sessions

·         Sept. 25 – Email intent to compete

·         Oct. 3 – Business plan training

·         Oct. 16 week – Mentor support

·         Oct. 30 week – Training on business financials

·         Nov. 13 – Submit business plan

·         Nov. 20 week – Notification of semi-finalists

·         Dec. 2 – Finalist pitches and awards




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: Charles Michael Ray , 605-394-6082, charles.ray@sdsmt.edu