2017 Giant Vision Competition Winners Announced

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April 27, 2017
April 26, 2017

Governor’s Giant Vision Business and
Student Competition Winners Announced

Sioux Falls, SD - As host of the Governor’s Giant Vision Business Entrepreneurial Competition, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry President David Owen announced the top winners of the 2017 business and student business competitions in Sioux Falls April 26th.

After a preliminary judging process that reduced the field of applicants to eight qualifying business and ten qualifying student entries, the competition concluded with day-long judging activities Wednesday, April 26 at the Sioux Falls convention Center.  The awards were presented as part of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) banquet with Governor Dennis Daugaard presenting the top prizes in both competitions.  The following were selected as this year’s winners.  The listing includes the competitor’s “elevator pitch” that explains their business.


The first place $20,000 winner was NP SYSTEMS INTEGRATION, Daniel Stanton, Rapid City
"NP Systems Integration, LLC (NPSI) is a South Dakota tech startup that was created in collaboration with university researchers. Our founders have extensive experience in supply chain management and the supply chain technology industry. Our research partner is The Center for Security Printing and Anti-Counterfeiting Technology (SPACT). Since 2009, SPACT has received more than $1 million in research funding to develop an innovative new system for securely marking products using nano technology. NPSI and SPACT have leveraged this research to create an anti-counterfeiting platform that is secure, flexible, and affordable. This technology will be marketed under the brand name SecureMarking™.”
Second ($10,000):  Primary Manufacturing, Ladd McCluskey, Humboldt
Ladd McCluskey is owner of Primary Manufacturing.   We manufacture high-quality small plastic parts using the latest additive technology.    This process uses light and oxygen to build the desired solid shape out of liquid resin.    Once this shape is formed it is baked to fully cure the resin into a finished part.  This process creates a highly detailed, non-layered part with incredible physical properties.  If your dream invention or process needs 10 to 10,000 parts, we can build your production jobs from a drawing or 3D rendering in as little as a day.   What possibilities do you see?

Tie for Third ($4,000 each):  Ease, Travis Kiefer, Aberdeen and XpressRules LLC, Lanny Turner and Ron Turner, Yankton
Ease is a technology company that provides customized hardware and software solutions for senior living. Ease’s flagship product is an intelligent passive sensor network that can notify caregivers or family members in the event something is amiss in the senior’s surroundings. Whether it’s forgetting that the stove was left on or receiving a notification that the time spent walking is below a risk threshold for falls, our technology allows seniors to age with dignity and live with Ease.
A market opportunity has recently emerged with a potential of over $15B.  XpressRules recognized this, creating a patented technology to replace manual IT programming in multiple business environments.  Natural language sentences—simple to implement and easily understood— automatically create executable computer code.  Using XpressRules technology, non-IT rule makers can easily create, modify or delete rules and policies for their organization with simple sentences and a few mouse clicks.  This workflow automation generates significant savings, military-grade cybersecurity and transparent audits.  XpressRules represents a rare opportunity for South Dakota: “Right product, right time and great jobs”!

Fifth ($2,000):  Health Workforce USA/Connectushealth.org, Krista Marx and Sandy Williams, Sioux Falls
Health Workforce USA, dba Connect US Health is a digital platform to engage and develop the healthcare workforce – the fastest growing employment sector in the United States. By mobilizing the 250+ AHEC network, Connect US Health is a national data system to support federal and business funding to enhance AHEC sustainability producing value for advertisers, colleges, employers, and governments. It connects healthcare students to professionals connecting them all to careers and communities. Connect Us Health facilitates audience groups into education, supports clinical training, data storage, mentoring and employment. Practicing professionals receive on-going professional development across the continuum of their career.

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

Sponsors of the Giant Vision Business Competition are Governor Dennis Daugaard; Black Hills Energy, Rapid City; Christiansen Land & Cattle Ltd., Kimball; Dacotah Bank, Aberdeen; Daktronics, Inc., Brookings; MidAmerican Energy, South Dakota; Toshiba America, Mitchell; US Bank, Sioux Falls, Aberdeen and Rapid City; Wheeler Manufacturing, Lemmon, and Xcel Energy, Sioux Falls. 

The Giant Vision Competition is a program of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, located in Pierre.  SD Chamber President David Owen stated, “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.  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.”

2017 marked the eleventh year of a college student competition. Entries were received from across South Dakota.  From the original applications, the top 10 were selected to compete April 26.  The winners of the student competition were: 

Tie for first place $4,500  Ellen Schlechter, The Calving Book App, Faulkton High School and Henry Wegehaupt, Provender Technologies, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
The Calving Book App is an app for smart phones and tablets that keeps track of your calving records.   All of your records are at your fingertips so you won’t ever be without your calving book.   Plus, everything is cloud-based so everyone on your operation has live access to the calving records!  Need to look up a calf?   We’ve made it easy with a search tool.   No network connection? Don’t worry, it works offline too.  The app is available in the major app stores.  Check out our website for more information:  wwwthecalvingbook.com

Provender Technologies is from Parkston, SD.  Provender Technologies is working to provide automated feeding solutions for cattle operations. According to the USDA Census of Agriculture, sales from cattle and dairy products are increasing while the average age of U.S. farmers also continues to increase. Provender Technologies aspires to help farmers by saving them labor, time, and money and increasing their revenue. This is achieved through innovation and greater efficiency. Provender Technologies’ innovative feed bunk design provides an affordable and reliable automated feeding solution.

Third ($3,000):  South Dakota Refining Company, Scyller Borglum and J. Zack Malone, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
The South Dakota Refinery Company (SDRC) development is a local team bringing technical careers to SD.   Over a three-year period, SDRC will complete Phase 1 which includes refinery siting near Mitchell, completion of environmental studies, acquisition of necessary permits, and actively seek investors for Phase 2 which includes the refinery construction and operation. Once built, the SDRC will create temporary jobs during construction and long term careers for operators, engineers and scientists, and everyone in between. Join our team. Invest in a profitable, environmentally responsible and socially developing business adventure. Invest in South Dakota. Invest in SDRC.

Fourth ($2,000)The Knak, Sam Hummel and Tyler Frank, University of South Dakota
The Knak is an app based e-commerce platform that is revolutionizing the way customers are able to access and buy goods and services. Currently, millions of people are using social media platforms to share ideas about custom goods but no current marketplace solution is able to monetize these ideas.  Our goal is to be the bridge that connects makers of handmade goods and services to those demanding them.  This will be feasible by creating a community of makers, on our app, that will bid on each project and only complete the projects where the buyer accepts the bid.

Fifth ($1,000)305 Bucking Stock, Jack Stark, South Dakota State University
305 Bucking Stock headquartered in Brookings SD, will serve most of SD, MN, and the other surrounding areas to provide outstanding bucking stock for every level of competition.  Starting with the purchase of older rodeo stock, gives us time to create a name for ourselves by having consistent stock that performs day in and out.  From there we will start with both breeding and purchasing younger stock that has the potential to be the best.  By breeding and raising the younger stock within our company, the industry can see what our potential is and what we have to offer.

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

Governor Dennis Daugaard supported this program financially, along with Citibank N.A. of Sioux Falls and South Dakota EPSCoR of Brookings. 

The Governor’s Giant Vision Business Awards and Governor’s Giant Vision Student Awards were established to help citizens realize that South Dakota is the very best place to start a successful business.   The program was designed as an opportunity for entrepreneurs to compete for seed money and a chance to achieve their dream.   This South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry program is chaired by Brad Wheeler, President of Wheeler Manufacturing in Lemmon. 

Mary Anne Boyd, VP Program Services
maryanneb@sdchamber.biz, 605-260-8215
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