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 The Giant Vision Student competition is an opportunity for you to win seed capital for your enterprise.  Even more importantly, it is an opportunity for you to gain experience in preparing a business plan and making a compelling presentation.

You will be able to interact with judges who can give you useful comments and feedback on ways in which your plan or presentation can be improved.

The Giant Vision Student Competition may even be an opportunity for you to meet potential investors.



The judges' panel is made up of active, seasoned, business people who have started businesses, run businesses, sold businesses and/or invested in businesses. The panel will evaluate your opportunity from the point of view of a potential investor and, as with any investment, they will seek to determine if it has the potential to be a profitable investment in addition to being beneficial to the State of South Dakota. 

Judges for the Giant Vision competition donate a tremendous amount of time and expertise. The current judges represent the following companies:

  • Rush-Co, Springfield
  • Avalon Capital Group, North Sioux City/Dakota Dunes
  • Daktronics, Brookings
  • South Dakota EPSCoR, Brookings
  • South Dakota Board of Regents, Pierre
  • South Dakota Enterprise Institute, Brookings

Other invitees who will see your display may also be actively engaged in business or investing in businesses.  This will provide you with an opportunity to sharpen your plans and improve business potential.


Your display does not need to be elaborate but should clearly convey the nature of your product or service, representing the business idea. Emphasis should be placed on the formal presentation, with the booth being considered an informal part of the presentation. A poster display or prototype of the product will be needed. Electricity and internet access will be available. The best use of your time spent on preparation will be devoted to knowing your business idea and not on developing an elaborate display.


Do not be intimidated by having to write a business plan. But, make sure that what you write is clear and useful. The plan should address the major issues an investor needs to know about or will wonder about as he or she reads the plan. Details on issues peripheral to the opportunity can be scant or omitted entirely.

We suggest that you start by writing the executive summary first.  Limit it to one or two pages but make sure it clearly states what your intended product or service is, the market addressed, the competition, and your probable advantages compared to competitors. 

The summary should contain the very basic financial data (revenue, profit, capital required) in a small table or a few sentences.

We have included a general outline of the necessary business plan information for this competition. After you have completed a draft of the executive summary, work on the most relevant items in the outline. The financial section of the plan need not be extensive but should include your financial needs and sources. You are required to submit the provided financial template, completing only the appropriate sections for your business.

After you have worked on the most relevant parts of the outline, you will probably find that the executive summary should be revised.  When you feel that both the summary and the plan answer the major questions about your opportunity, let someone else read it.  If it is still satisfactory, it is probably ready for submission. Remember, a clear logical plan is far better than one that lacks clarity but is full of detail.  Plans are evaluated by content and not by weight.


If you are selected as a qualifying entry, you will make a fifteen minute presentation to the panel of judges.  Use 10 minutes for the presentation and the balance of time for questions and answers. Keep your answers short so that all judges can ask questions in the time available. Prior to formal presentations, the judges will view each booth and visit with the qualifiers individually.


All student participants will be invited to an evening reception and banquet.  Take the opportunity to talk informally with the judges and other invitees. Their ideas and suggestions have been helpful to previous entrepreneurs and may be helpful to you.


The most useful feedback that our judges can give you are comments on how to improve your business opportunity, improve the probability of getting financing, and improve your plan and presentation.  To keep focus on improving opportunities for startups, the judges will not comment on why your plan was or was not chosen for an award.

Do not assume that a judge will offer comments without being asked; judges have learned from experience that many entrepreneurs do not want to hear or accept adverse comments.

Each competitor will receive an email message after the April competition with feedback on their presentation.

We look forward to seeing you at the Giant Vision Student Competition. We hope you find the opportunity rewarding and instructive.