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Majors & Degrees

Business Pitch Competition winners

April 6, 2023

Several finalists competed virtually in the DSU Business Pitch Competition on Friday, March 31.

Due to weather on Friday, Entrepreneurs Day was canceled, and the pitch competition was moved online. Three high school finalists and three college finalists presented their elevator pitches to an online audience of two dozen interested parties throughout the state, according to Dr. Michael Roach, DSU Assistant Professor of Management and faculty advisor for Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO) Club. There were four finalists in the high school division, but only three participated in the pitch competition.

First place winners were awarded $1,000 each, second place $500, and third place $250.

High school division results:

  • Dominic Jones of Florence High School took first place with his business pitch for DJ Enterprises. His business manufactures fenceposts from 100% recycled plastics, which are targeted for farmers and ranchers.
  • Chloie Stevens of Marshall (Minn.) High School was awarded second place for her business, Raine. Inspired by her grandmother’s love of cooking, Stevens’ company will offer a cookbook and specialized cooking tools and utensils.
  • Third place was a tie between Tabitha Choate of Brandon Valley High School and Clayton Trupe of Florence High School. Tabitha’s business idea is named Creare Cones, a gourmet ice cream shop that allows customers to create their own sweet treats. Trupe owns Wicked Washing, a commercial and residential pressure-washing business.


College division results:

  • Bharathkiran Maddipudi and Khang Huynh from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology earned first place for their business Bio-Navitas. Their business is dedicated to developing a process to manufacture renewable and sustainable graphitized carbon from corn stover (agricultural residues) to be used as electrode material for supercapacitors.
  • Dakota State University student Jonathan Lancelot received second place with Astro Aeronautica. His business aims to support the cyber defense of critical infrastructure by developing technology that merges cyber science and astronautical science to accurately detect and track objects, such as anti-satellite ballistics and other threats.
  • John Barbour of South Dakota School of Mines and Technology took third place for his business, CounSil, LLC. CounSil provides a decentralized, accessible, and competitive process to supply military needs with a faster and more resilient system to supply chain disruptions.


‘’Congratulations to all our participants,” Roach said, “and thank you to our sponsors, the Lake Area Improvement Corporation, the Paulson Cyber Incubator & Entrepreneurial Center, and the DSU chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization.”

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