2020 Grand Prize Winner

Our winners for 2020:

First Place, $5000 and people’s Choice, $2000: Logan Sendle, Lakeshore Potential

He advanced to the semifinalist round in the student division of MNCup (the largest statewide business plan competition in the US where the Student Division prize is $30,000).  

Lakeshore Potential specializes in weed removal, landscaping, and beach restoration services to lakeshore residents using unique chemical-free techniques.
Where are they now? Lakeshore Potential had one of their best years ever in summer of 2020 with larger crews and more orders.

Second Place, $2500: Abelrahman Elkanaway, Alex Shepherd, Kaitlyn Gloege with Hearing Glasses

Hearing Glasses developed glasses designed for people with hearing disabilities. It’ll help anyone communicate between those with hearing disabilities and anyone without needing to know sign language or having a translator.

Where are they now? Hearing Glasses placed third in the semifinals of the Student Division of MN Cup 2020. They won Entrepreneurial Bridge ($5000) in 2020 and won the College Compact competition for $10,000. They continue to actively develop their business idea and to do research and development on their prototype.

Third Place, $2500: Sam Csizmadia,  Csizmadia Lawn Care

CLC provides lawn care, landscaping, snow removal, and fertilization services.

For the first time in history, we had a tie between second & third place.

Where are they now?

Csizmadia Lawn Care wrapped up one of their best financial years and over the winter, he is planning for growth for 2021.

Agriculture/Food/Beverage Division, $3000: Jaden Klingenberg, from Downed Duck

Downed Duck’s invention was a remote-controlled boat used for retrieving shot ducks from the water.

Where are they now? Downed Duck is actively working on building their manufacturing prototype to prepare for mass production.

“In the past six years, we have given away $70,000 to student startup businesses.  Of the 34 presentations that have made it to the finals, 15 of those businesses are still in operation today.  We have had about 112 community and alumni mentors and judges help to make this a terrific real-world learning experience for our students.”

The Big Ideas Challenge has been sponsored for each of the last six years by Lloyd Companies. Craig Lloyd is a 1972 graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato.  This year, the Agriculture/Food/Beverage Division prize was sponsored by All American Foods.  Other generous sponsors were CrankyApe.com, BankVista and MN Valley Business Magazine. 

We had 32 applications start the process, 20 that went into Round one for judging.  A team of community, alumni, and faculty review and score the round one applications. No names or identifying information is given to the judges, just the ideas.  The highest-scoring teams advance to Round two. In Round two, the finalists had to write a full business plan and then prepare a pitch and deliver it on stage on April 14, 2020.  The combined plan and pitch scores from our judges determined the winners of all of the prizes except for People’s Choice (which was chosen by audience vote).

We encourage all students, from any major, to start thinking about THEIR Big Ideas for next year.  Ideas don’t have to be high tech.  Your idea could be a novel or play, it could be an idea to clean up the environment, it could be something that helps people with disabilities or a service for agriculture.  Join other students at the Center and get help with developing your idea so you can be on stage next year.