Competition held for young entrepreneurs


BROOKINGS – South Dakota State University students Matthew Cole, Logan Wolf and Nolan Lee won the Second Annual Brookings Student Business Plan Competition, Jan. 27, at the Brookings Innovation Center at the Research Park at South Dakota State University. 

The team of Cole, Wolf and Lee took home $3,000 for first place to help develop their business idea that aims to improve the shelf life of produce in grocery stores. 

The Brookings Student Business Plan Competition started with 21 teams comprised of 35 SDSU students. 

Seven teams from the group were selected as finalists and pitched to a panel of judges to close out the competition. This is the second year of the event, with $7,000 in prize money going to the finalists. 

The Student Business Plan Competition takes place over four months with students participating in training on writing a business plan, developing financial projections, and are also offered a community mentor to share real world experiences. 

Students throughout the event also receive support from coalition partners including the South Dakota Small Business Development Center and Brookings Economic Development Corporation. Jennifer Quail, director of entrepreneur support at BEDC, is one of the resources available to students during the competition. 

“The Brookings Business Plan competition is an excellent example of the collaboration between the community startup resource partners and SDSU as well as an effective tool to help identify entrepreneurs and emerging innovations in Brookings,” Quail said. 

Nick Fickbohm, business counselor at Enterprise Institute, appreciates the long-term payoff for students and the community. “Connecting students with the resources and mentors in the Brookings startup community is an amazing part of this competition. As this moves forward, the continued support of innovation and entrepreneurship will continually showcase the ideas and potential businesses these talented students are working on in our community.”