2016 Giant Vision Winners

Special Events


2016 Governor’s Giant Vision Business and
Student Competition Winners

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 2016 business and student business competitions in Sioux Falls April 13th.

After a preliminary judging process that reduced the field of applicants to nine qualifying business and eleven qualifying student entries, the competition concluded with day-long judging activities Wednesday, April 13 at the Sanford Research Center in Sioux Falls.  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 the 2016 Governor’s Giant Vision winners.  Each first place winner listing includes the competitor’s “elevator pitch” that explains their business.

The first place $20,000 winner was BlueDop Medical, Patrick Kelly and Tyler Remund of Sioux Falls
Elevator Pitch:  BlueDop Medical is a technology development company from South Dakota determined to disrupt peripheral vascular disease management. 
Our technology dramatically improves patient access to state-of-the-art disease monitoring in rural communities while simultaneously improving accuracy and patient applicability.  We take off-the-shelf hardware and make it better, allowing us to be extremely capital efficient.  In a changing environment where providers are incented to care for populations rather than perform procedures, early disease identification is paramount.  BlueDop does this in a way that aligns providers with payers, creating significant value.

Second ($10,000):  Endlas, LLC, Josh Hammell, James Tomich, Brett Trotter and Tom Hammell of Rapid City – A laser cladding / strengthening process for tools and parts.

Third ($5,000):  QVIDITY Telehealth, LLC, Jeremy Storm and Brian Brua of Rapid City – A telehealth system for healthcare providers
Fourth ($3,000):  Ease, Travis Keifer of Aberdeen - A remote monitoring/intercommunicating sensor system for elder care quality and efficiency

Fifth ($2,000):  Camp Native, David Woodbury of Spearfish - A marketing and reservation platform for campgrounds.

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.”

2016 marked the tenth year of a college student competition. Entries were received from across South Dakota.  From the original applications, the top 11 were selected to compete April 13.  The winners of the student competition were: 

The first place $5,000 winner was Botanical Extraction Technologies Aaron Worlie and Erica Howie, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Elevator Speech: Botanical Extraction Technologies (BET) is a South Dakota based company that specializes in design and manufacturing of Supercritical Fluid Extraction systems and high purity botanical products.  These products range from common household goods such as cooking oils, ointments and creams, all the way to developing markets such as high purity pharmaceuticals and craft brewing.  These products are often acquired using dangerous, volatile or toxic chemicals, or are acquired using technology with very low yields.  BET will be a pioneer in innovative applications for supercritical fluid extractions and will provide customers with efficient, clean and economical separations tailored specifically to their needs.

Second ($4,000):  Synechotech, Kelly Sutko and Brandon White, South Dakota State University – A biotech-based natural rubber production.

Third ($3,000):  Borglum Natural Gas Storage Solutions, Scyller J. Borglum, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology – A natural gas storage process.

Fourth ($2,000)RackStar, Jace Doan, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology – Protective transportation products for cycling industry.

Fifth ($1,000)Ki’s Chords, Kianna Knutson, South Dakota State University – A music training system.

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.  Wheeler commented “We are fortunate to have successful entrepreneurs take time to be judges and really work hard to examine all of these new ideas.  This is an exciting day with high energy people working hard to share in the American dream.” 


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