IDEA Competition


Now entering its fifth year, the IDEA Competition was designed for one purpose — to grow the economy of Northwest Minnesota by outfitting the next generation of homegrown innovators for success in the global marketplace. Simply put, IDEA is a competition that selects entrepreneurs with the most promising breakthrough ideas and assists them in reaching product commercialization. Winners not only earn a $10,000 cash award to help them fund their business effort, but receive services and direction from some of the best business resources Northwest Minnesota has to offer.


Competition Organizer


Local US Event
Bemidji, MN
*Available in all states*

Submission Date


Business Plan Submission Date


Awards Date


Total Prize Cash (US Dollars)


Competition Category
  • Business - Local U.S.
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Technology - Other
Who's Eligible

To be eligible, you must be either a resident of Northwest Minnesota, or own a business that is located in Northwest Minnesota. Award monies will not be disbursed to any individual without either proof of residency or proof of business location within Northwest Minnesota.

For the purposes of the IDEA Competition, Northwest Minnesota includes the following counties: Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau

Either an individual or a team of up to four persons is eligible. Ventures who wish to use award funds for the purposes of buying a franchise, branch or subsidiary; buyout of existing company; tax-shelter opportunities; real estate syndications; consulting/analysis projects or an existing company that has been generating revenue for more than five years is not eligible.

Important Dates
  • Round One: Registration Form, Round One Application, and registration fee, due November 30, 2012
  • Round Two: Idea Plan, due February 15, 2013
  • Round Three: Final Business Plan, due April 8, 2013
  • Final Competition: April 24, 2013

Each round is competitive and you will be notified if your idea advances to the next round.

Competition Prizes

Entrepreneurs who advance to the final round will have the opportunity to present their idea to a judging panel (private investors and business and technical professionals) who will review a maximum of 15 business ideas and select up to five winners. The winners will receive cash awards of $10,000 each, which can be used for almost anything you need to get your idea off the ground – legal costs, prototype development, marketing assistance, research and development, equipment, etc. The IDEA Competition award is not assignable, i.e., it cannot be transferred to any other individual, organization, or entity without written permission from the IDEA Competition; neither can the award be transferred to an alternate idea without written permission from the IDEA Competition.