Governor’s Giant Vision winners announced

April 13, 2018

A business that deals in the Internet of Things won the $20,000 first-place prize in the Governor’s Giant Vision Business Entrepreneurial Competition, put on by the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry .

After a preliminary judging process that reduced the field of applicants to eight qualifying business and eight qualifying student entries, the competition concluded with daylong judging activities April 12.

These were the winning businesses:

  • The first place $20,000 winner was SMRTGrid, Todd Christensen and Jamie Hale, Baltic.  SmrtGrid’s founder was exploring IoT technology, and after developing several IoT hardware software systems,  discovered an opportunity to apply the technology to the utility industry. He designed a system, applied for a patent and approached an engineering firm for advanced hardware development. A partnership was formed, and the company was contacted by a cutting-edge utility who, along with Verizon, became development partners. In May, the product is entering beta testing with them. Extensive market and competitive research shows there’s a multibillion-dollar opportunity, just in the U.S.
  • Tie for second place paying $7,500 each: Hutchinson Car Audio, Nick Hutchinson and Thomas Voboril, Box Elder; and Rushmore Drones, Trevor Plett and John Herrera, Rapid City.
  • Fourth, winning $3,000: Ovo Birth Center, Lisa Groon, Harrisburg.
  • Fifth, winning $2,000:  Ebb, Alan Maas, Rapid City, an identity-access management company that helps eliminate the need for passwords by using the touch of a finger.

The remaining qualifiers received $500 each to help with the expenses of participation.

Sponsors of the Giant Vision business competition are Gov. Dennis Daugaard; Black Hills Energy, Rapid City; Christiansen Land & Cattle Ltd., Kimball; Dacotah Bank; First Premier Bank/Premier Bankcard, Sioux Falls; MidAmerican Energy, South Dakota; Toshiba America, Mitchell; Wheeler Manufacturing, Lemmon; and Xcel Energy, Sioux Falls.

“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,” vhamber president David Owen said. “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.”

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Governor’s Giant Vision winners announced

A business that deals in the Internet of Things has won the $20,000 first-place prize in the Governor’s Giant Vision Business Entrepreneurial Competition.

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