BEMIDJI, MN – June 9, 2020 – The IDEA Competition, a program of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF), has named its winners for the 2019-2020 competition. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual IDEA Competition Awards Banquet has been postponed, but competition organizers are planning a virtual recognition event to take place in the fall in conjunction with kicking off the 2020-2021 competition.


The following businesses were named the 2020 winners of the IDEA Competition:


  • 1st Place: Muskox – Ron Bergman, Mentor
    • The Muskox makes snow-removal a single step process by continuing to blow snow in reverse. Today’s snow blower attachments only work moving forward. The chutes block vision and lack throwing power. The advantages of this product include: bi-directional snow blowing, upper cutting edges, angled back wall for better sight, slip clutch, and lowered chute. Muskox received a $15,000 cash award and a $5,000 service package from IdeaWorks.


  • Runners Up (in no particular order) Moonlit Analytics – Michael Hendricks, Bemidji
    • Unlike data science that seeks meaning from data, decision science is the application of data inferences to solve business problems using data science tools. Decision scientists clearly define the business problem or opportunity and have the acumen to solve the problem or capture the opportunity. The Moonlit Analytics team are the decision scientists capable of modeling specifically to customer needs whether it is anomaly detection for equipment, likelihood of payment from a customer, forecasting sales, or optimizing employee schedules, they have an affordable solution. Moonlit Analytics received a $5,000 cash award from the competition and a 15 hour Awareness Campaign package from Evolve Creative.


  • Table for 7 – Amber Lynne Cooper, Bemidji
    • This will be a niche restaurant that will bring Bemidji back to its roots, where every local community should look for the source of its food. Not only will it support and raise up the local growing community but it will also be a place of education for people who are passionate about good food. In turn those people will go on to be more equipped in the food industry as they advance in their career. It is a niche restaurant that is unlike what Bemidji already has for choices of places to eat out. It will be a fresh and healthy alternative for eating out. Table for 7 received a $4,000 cash award.


  • F&H Design – Tim Halberg and Marty Feil, Shevlin
    • This organizer system will act to protect equipment, or items within the Ice Fishing embodiment. The needless destruction of equipment during hauling, towing the ice fishing sled, and the entanglement of equipment, or items will be reduced. This adjustable system is to fit all sizes of the ice fishing sled, and can be customized for individual use planning, and placement of items. The adjustability and interlocking panels will help to secure the load within the sled. F&H Design received a $1,000 cash award, a $5,000 service package from Hamre, Schumann, Mueller & Larson, and $5,000 worth of services from LVI Supply.


“LaValley Industries and all our affiliated companies are very pleased to be able to support the IDEA Competition and this year’s winners,” said Jorge Prince, chief financial officer at LaValley Industries. “It takes great heart and determination to move business ideas forward and we are honored to be able to work with each winner and help them take the next step forward.”


For additional information about the winners, their businesses, and the IDEA Competition, visit


IDEA has been made possible by the generous contributions of the following sponsors: Northwest Minnesota Foundation, LaValley Industries, IdeaWorks, Hamre, Schumann, Mueller & Larson, Evolve Creative, LVI Supply, Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, Bremer Bank of Crookston and Warren, Security Bank USA, Baer Family Foundation Fund, Northwest Minnesota Small Business Development Center, Minnkota Power, United Valley Bank, Headwaters Regional Development Commission, LaunchPad, Northwest Regional Development Commission, University of Minnesota Crookston.