IDEA Competition Northwest Minnesota's competition for breakthrough business ideas
looking for the next great innovative business idea
Growing the economy of Northwest Minnesota by outfitting the next generation of homegrown innovators for success in the global marketplace.


Blandin Foundation


Bremer Bank Crookston and Warren
Warren and Crookston

Northwest Minnesota Foundation


University of Minnesota Crookston

360 Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence

Headwaters Regional Development Commission

Northwest Regional Development Commission










IDEA Competition Announces 2012 Winners

BEMIDJI, MN – April 25, 2012 – The IDEA Competition announced the names of five 2012 winners on Wednesday, April 25th at the IDEA awards banquet held at the Sanford Center, Bemidji.  Each winner receives $10,000 in cash to advance their business idea, plus additional specialized technical assistance. 

The 2012 Winners are:

Jay Fisher & James Marvin, Warroad, for Eleven Hockey
      Hockey stick manufacturer in Warroad that offers custom, unique, and historical hockey stick products.

Mark Landes & Jennifer DeBarr, Bemidji, for Shield Snip
      Innovative hand tool to simplify the process of trimming STP and coaxial shield quickly      and precisely.

William & Julia Stephani, Puposky, for Slot Rail Fence
      Revolutionary way to construct a stronger and more-appealing wooden rail fence that is easier for DIYs to build than what is currently offered in the market. 

Brady & Jodi Dyrdahl, Shevlin,forThe Sidekick
      Snowmobile work stand that stabilizes the sled, making it easier to perform repairs and enhancements underneath the snowmobile.

Jeff Sullivan, Bemidji, for Varimax Evaporator
      Precision evaporative technology for environmentally responsible and cost effective disposal of surplus industrial and agricultural waste water.

The main goal of the IDEA competition is to assist promising local entrepreneurs in the commercialization of innovative products, processes and deliveries by connecting them to the best resources available, along with access to the capital it takes to launch a successful venture. 

The IDEA Hall of Fame added William S. “Bill” Marvin, founder of Marvin Windows and Doors in Warroad.  The IDEA Hall of Fame was established to recognize the accomplishments of the region’s legacy innovators—those within the region who have inspired others with their entrepreneurial vision, leadership and achievement.

In the previous three years, 13 innovators from throughout northwestern Minnesota have received IDEA awards. Their combined economic impact includes:
· Ten winners reaching commercialization
· Total sales $4.3 million
· Creation of  23 jobs and estimate the creation of at least 50 more jobs
· 13 loans have been approved

The next IDEA competition opens in September, 2012.  Northwest Minnesota innovators are encouraged to consider entering the next round of competition.  For more information, visit the FAQs page, and the Judging Criteria page.




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