The IDEA Competition has concluded its 2020-2021 season by naming and awarding one overall winner and four runners-up in the annual competition that aims to support northwest Minnesota entrepreneurs in turning their great ideas into great businesses.
Andy Olson, a resident of St. Hilaire, received a $5,000 in-kind award from IDEA Works for general consulting, including advanced business planning, facility acquisition, and vendor selection.
His concept of an engineering firm offering consultation and testing through contracted work expands on his initial idea for a mobile wood processor. An engineer with 20 years’ experience, Olson developed a prototype for the wood processor that can lift logs, transfer them down a conveyor, and cut and split the logs. The processor can be pulled behind an ATV. It is aimed at those who use wood-burning as primary or secondary heat sources, and greatly reduces the physical strain from lifting logs and splitting wood.
The Northwest Small Business Development Center and the IDEA Competition helped him walk through the steps needed to create a business plan and establish an LLC, Olson said.
“It was helpful – how do you lay out a business plan, how do you write your summary, how do you do three years of financials,” he said. “It was really good for me and it helped me learn. I’d like to see a new adventure come from this idea.”