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Majors & Degrees

Public invited to DSU’s annual Entrepreneurs Day

March 27, 2023

The public is invited to attend the third annual Dakota State University Entrepreneurs Day on Friday, March 31. The event will take place at Dakota Prairie Playhouse at 11:30 a.m.

The day has evolved from a business plan pitch competition for DSU students in 2019 to a much larger event. Today, several regional high school and college students compete throughout the afternoon, interspersed with talks given by area entrepreneurs.

“The percentage of people who say they would like to start their own businesses is relatively large compared to the percentage of people who seriously want to start their own business,” said Dr. Michael Roach, DSU Assistant Professor of Management and Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO) Club advisor. “This is because it takes a lot of work and sacrifice. It takes a lot of effort and multiple iterations.”

This event allows students to understand the process better, from feasibility analysis to business model creation to customer discovery, Roach said.

For this year’s competition, business plans have been turned in by participants from Florence High School, Brandon Valley High School, Marshall (Minn.) High School, Dakota State University, the South Dakota School of Mines, Augustana University, and University of South Dakota, according to Roach.

Attendees will also hear from successful entrepreneurs in the region. The event will be emceed by Michael Vetter, a DSU alumnus and lifelong entrepreneur who started his first company in his parents’ basement while attending Dakota State. Vetter has sold several businesses, and currently runs a venture capital and incubation firm he co-founded.

Local entrepreneurial couple Jon and Brittany Waldman will start the event. Jon, a DSU alumnus (B.S. ’04, M.S. ’06), is co-founder and Chief People Officer with SBS CyberSecurity in Madison. He is also co-owner of The Floral Shop in Madison with his wife, Brittany. Together, they run multiple businesses and raise their family of three kids.

The second speaker, Eric Skott, a S.D. School of Mines graduate, is the founder, President, and CEO of Crestone Companies in Watertown. Skott started his own construction company, which has since expanded to include four divisions, builders, homes, development, and commercial real estate, Roach said.

DSU alumnus Matt Paulson (B.S. ‘08, M.S. ’09) will round out the list of speakers. Paulson is the founder and CEO of MarketBeat in Sioux Falls. He also founded or co-founded the following organizations: Homegrown Capital, Falls Angel Fund, Startup Sioux Falls, and Cresten Capital. He is the benefactor of the Paulson Cyber Incubator & Entrepreneurial Center at DSU.

“Matt is really a valuable and integral part of the entire region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Roach said.

Outside of his career, Paulson shares his entrepreneurial experiences and expertise with others to expand entrepreneurial resources, and grow the network of entrepreneurs in the region.

The judges for the pitch competition are Brooke Rollag, Executive Director of the Lake Area Improvement Corporation (LAIC); Michael Klumpp, President of Citibank; and Matt Willard, Assistant Professor of Business at Augustana University.  

This event is sponsored by LAIC, the Paulson Cyber Incubator and Entrepreneurial Center, and DSU’s CEO Club. 

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