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IDEA Competition deadline approaches

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The deadline to enter the eighth annual IDEA Competition is fast approaching--Dec. 31 is the last day to register. More than $300,000 has been awarded to Northwest Minnesota entrepreneurs in its seven years, according to a press...

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BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The deadline to enter the eighth annual IDEA Competition is fast approaching--Dec. 31 is the last day to register.

More than $300,000 has been awarded to Northwest Minnesota entrepreneurs in its seven years, according to a press release from the Northwest Minnesota Foundation in Bemidji.

The competition has earned a reputation in the region for helping competitors turn great ideas into great businesses, the release said. The event provides training, business coaching and capital to entrepreneurs who apply and want to turn an idea into a fast-growing business.

In the past, most entrepreneurs have entered to win one of three $10,000 cash awards. For the first time, IDEA Competition applicants will also have a chance to win a guaranteed spot as a semifinalist in the Minnesota Cup--a statewide competition for breakthrough ideas, the release said. The Minnesota Cup has awarded $1.6 million in seed funding and its finalists have gone on to raise more than $180 million.

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Applicants also receive business development resources, a business coach, open access to all IDEA Labs, attention in the media and a chance to present their idea to accredited angel investors and business leaders.

While business ideas are important, IDEA judges place a higher importance on the commercialization of ideas, according to the release.

"It takes skill, strategy, and execution to turn an idea into something more," IDEA Project Coordinator Phil Knutson said. "That is the real purpose of the IDEA Competition--to help entrepreneurs turn great ideas into profitable business ventures."

Information about entering the competition can be found on the IDEA website, www.ideacompetition.org .

IDEA is made possible by the contributions of the following: Northwest Minnesota Foundation, 360 Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence, Bremer Banks--Crookston and Warren, Border State Bank, Headwaters Regional Development Commission, Landsverk and Associates Inc., LaValley Industries, Minnkota Power Cooperative Inc., Northwest Regional Development Commission, Northwest Small Business Development Center, Security Bank USA and the University of Minnesota Crookston.

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