September 27, 2017

The IDEA Competition, a program of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF), is now seeking applications for the 10th Annual IDEA Competition. Early Bird registration price of $99.00 is being offered to those who submit their applications by November 30, 2017. After that, registration price is $175.00. The application deadline is January 5, 2018. Over the past decade, more than $350,000 has been awarded to Northwest Minnesota entrepreneurs.

IDEA is a competition that turns great ideas into great businesses.  The competition provides training, business coaching, and capital to entrepreneurs who apply and want to turn an idea into a fast-growth business.

While most entrepreneurs enter to win one of three $10,000 cash awards, there are several other good reasons to enter.  Applicants receive valuable tools and business development resources, a business coach, open access to all IDEA Labs, attention in the media, and a chance to present their idea to accredited angel investors and business leaders. Plus, there is a chance to win valuable services from accounting, legal, and marketing professionals. This year, there is a new Emerging Entrepreneur category of the competition, created to encourage more participation from applicants of all ages and experience levels.

“We are excited to celebrate the impact that the IDEA Competition has had on our region’s economy and local entrepreneurs,” says Phil Knutson, NMF business development specialist. “We will be celebrating all of our past winners and Hall of Famers throughout the competition, and we’re looking forward to seeing this year’s talent pool.”

Knutson stated that the competition has a stronger business focus. He said, “This is not an invention competition.  It’s about businesses that are built on great ideas and social entrepreneurs making a difference for our region.”

IDEA is also seeking nominations for the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was established in 2009 and has since honored nine individuals or groups for their outstanding achievements in Northwest Minnesota. Nomination criteria includes those within the region who have inspired others with their entrepreneurial vision, leadership, and achievement.

For more information and to submit a nomination to the Hall of Fame, please visit the IDEA website,

IDEA has been made possible by the generous contributions of the following sponsors: Northwest Minnesota Foundation, University of Minnesota Crookston, Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, Bremer Bank, Security Bank, America’s SBDC of Minnesota, Minnkota Power, Landsverk and Associates, Border State Bank, and First National Bank of Mahnomen.