CEO Program

CEO Student Business Plan Competition 

The South Dakota Mines Competitive Entrepreneurial Opportunity (CEO) Program is a comprehensive, semester-long program that immerses students in learning to draft a business plan and culminates in a pitch competition for cash prizes. The CEO Program is the perfect starting point for students who are interested in entrepreneurship. 

This unique program features workshops on opportunity identification, introduces students to business concepts and project financials, and works through the development of a standard business plan. Students from the CEO program have gone on to win several state and national business plan competitions in addition to securing other forms of funding and recognition including the SD Governor’s Giant Vision Business Plan Competition.

Eligibility Requirements

  • All South Dakota Mines, Black Hills State, Western Dakota Tech, National American University, and Chadron State students are eligible. West River high school students are also eligible.
  • One Team member must be a full time student at South Dakota Mines or other participating institutions
  • Each team must submit a business plan
  • Must attend the Enterprise Institute’s Business Plan Training
  • See Calendar Below

How To Register

Please send an email to and include the following information:

  • Name, School’s Name, Email address, Major (undergraduate or graduate), of each team member
  • Idea or Business Name
  • A very brief description of your idea or business

Team Support

  • Business Plan Training
  • Financial Training by Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
  • Mentoring by Entrepreneurs-In-Residence


  • All teams must provide a written business plan with financial statements
  • Semi-Finalist to present their business plan to panel of judges (10 Min presentation, 5 Min Q&A)
    • 30% Quality of Business Plan
    • 40% Impact of Presentation
    • 30% Overall assessment of business potential


  • 1st Place - $4,000
  • 2nd Place - $3,000
  • 3rd Place - $2,000
  • 1st Place High School - $500
  • Best Agricultural Plan - $1,000
  • 2022 Competition Calendar

    2022 CEO Student Business Plan Competition Info Session September 12 and 15 @ 5pm
    Surbeck Center - McKeel Room
    Email Intent to Compete to:

    By September 23
    Business Plan Training

    September 27 @ 5pm
    October 4 @ 5 p.m. 
    Classroom Building, Room 205                       

    Mentor Support: Each team will receive a mentor Week of October 10
    Training to Develop Business Financials: Facilitated by Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Week of October 24
    Submit Business Plan to Due November 27 
    Notification of finalists Week of November 28
    Finalist Pitches and Awards December 3
    King Center, Hall of Fame Conference Room


    Contact the Office of Economic Development:
    Phone: 605-394-5168

    Thank you Sponsors!

    West River Electric Assoc.
    BigDLogo Big D Oil Co OfcOfPresLogo South Dakota Mines
    Office of the President


    BlackHillsEnergyLogo Black Hills Energy logoGoldenWest Golden West
    logoSiouxSteel Sioux Steel Biotech Logo South Dakota Biotech

    elevateRC logo
    Elevate Rapid City

      SDepscor logo SD EPSCoR  

    * Governor’s Office of Economic Development funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the US Small Business Administration.

    Office of Economic Development

    (605) 394-5168