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College Business Plan Competition winners selected

April 8, 2020

Three winners have been selected in the 2nd annual Business Plan Competition at Dakota State. Grant Carlson received first place, Elizabeth Olson received second place, and Andrew Rotert received third place.

The competition was sponsored by Heartland Consumers Power District and the Lake Area Improvement Corporation, and organized by the Dakota State Collegiate Entrepreneurial Organization (CEO) Club.

First place winner Grant Carlson’s business plan is for a software program, Opticsuite, that uses artificial intelligence to help display the optimal footage during events. It can be added to existing hardware or installed with a new camera system. The software will take all camera footage being recorded and adjust cameras to provide the best viewing angle for spectators in stadiums and larger venues.

Carlson’s a computer information systems major specializing in project management and business management from Watertown, S.D. He came up with the idea from his own experience.

“I was watching a Premier League soccer game back in the fall, and there was a sequence of play during the game that I thought they filmed at the wrong angle and I wanted a better view of it,” he explained.

Carlson will graduate in May and begin his master’s degree at DSU in information systems.

Elizabeth Olson received second place for Lzrd Designs, a business aimed at reducing the negative impacts of fast fashion. Fabrics and printing processes used in fast fashion often use chemicals and materials that are harmful to the environment. Lzrd Designs will use water-based inks and entirely recycled or sustainably sourced fabrics to have a positive environmental impact and provide safe working conditions for employees.

Olson is a junior business management major and entrepreneurial studies minor from Okoboji, Iowa. Olson was inspired to start a company as a high school sophomore, which began as a tie-dye t-shirt company. When she got to college learned more about sustainability and the negative impacts of the fast-fashion industry.

“I decided that I wanted to shift the focus of the company towards a retail brand that could be successful while also protecting the environment,” Olson said. “My current goals are focused on making Lzrd Designs a success and a reality.”

Third place winner Andrew Rotert’s business plan, Developed Not Downloaded, is a platform to connect businesses looking for software development with software engineers, developers, and software firms. His business would create a listing sharing what businesses are looking to have developed, anything from a website or mobile app to desktop software. Developers would then be able to bid for projects.

“Coming closer to graduating I wanted to look at some smaller freelancer type projects, but found that there is no website that exists for businesses to list projects of this nature,” Rotert said. “That led to the idea for Developed Not Downloaded.”

Rotert is a computer science and mathematics for information systems student from Sioux Falls, S.D., and expects to graduate in May 2021.

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