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Public invited to Entrepreneurs Day

March 22, 2022

On Friday, March 25 the public is invited to the second annual Dakota State University Entrepreneurs Day. The event will take place at Dakota Prairie Playhouse in Madison beginning at noon.

The business plan competition began in 2019 for DSU students. The competition grew over the years to include regional college and high school students. In 2021, the pitch competition expanded to include a culminating event for young entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs Day focuses on networking and the business plan competition. Finalists will have approximately 90-120 seconds to identify a problem, offer a solution, and explain why they’re the best person to do it, explained Dr. Michael Roach, DSU Assistant Professor of Management and Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO) Club adviser.

“Everybody should be interested in what is going down because these ideas are going to lead to new businesses, which are going to lead to new jobs and product service offerings, and growing the economy and community,” Roach said.

“These high school and college students that enter this type of a competition, these are the future problem-solvers for this country,” said Katherine Cota, Director of Economic Development.

The event, sponsored by Lake Area Improvement Corporation (LAIC), First Bank & Trust, the Paulson Cyber Incubator and Entrepreneurial Center, and the College of Business and Information Systems, will feature a group of speakers in between the pitch competitions.

DSU alumnus and employee of the DSU Applied Research Lab, Jarod Keene will be the first speaker talking about his experience as an entrepreneur as he prepares to open a brewery in downtown Madison with his business partner Dylan Johnson.

Mike Vetter, also a DSU alumnus, founded DataSync, which he sold to a larger company. He is the founder and CEO of Flywheel, a company that helps salespeople serve customers through new data science technology. He is also a former Director of the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship, now known as Startup Sioux Falls.

The final speaker is Kory Van Sickle of Kory and The Fireflies, Sioux Falls, SD band founded in the 1990s. Van Sickle, a social entrepreneur, designed a pink ribbon guitar called Firefly Guitars US. He has famous musicians like Fleetwood Mac, Toby Keith, Post Malone, and more sign two guitars. The artists get to keep one and the other one is auctioned off to raise money for various charities.

The program will end with the announcement of the winners of the business plan competition. First place will earn $1,000, second place $500, and third place $250.

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