PIERRE, SOUTH DAKOTA, April 14, 2022 — As host of the Governor’s Giant Vision Business and Student Business Competitions, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry event Chair Brad Wheeler, President of Wheeler Manufacturing, announced the winners of the 2022 business and student business competitions.
After a preliminary judging process that reduced the field of applicants to six business finalists and nine student finalists, the competition concluded with final judging activities Thursday, April 14, at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. The awards were presented after the lunch program where competitors heard from Sue Lancaster, SD Innovation Partners and former successful Giant Vision competitor. Checks were presented by GOED Commissioner Steve Westra.
2022 marks the eighteenth year of the Giant Vision Business Competition. The following winners were selected as this year’s entrepreneurial standouts.
This year’s first-place $20,000 winner was AMBER LLC (Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor with Electrolytic Regeneration – offers an on-site wastewater reuse system), Maryam Amouamouha, Rapid City.
In second place, winning $10,000, was Prairie BioTechnology* LLC (Product that can extend shelf life of fruit; a food preservative derived from a proprietary oilseed fermentation process), Matthew Cole, Logan Wolf, Jordan Traub and Ian Schuh, Brookings. (*Prairie BioTechnology has since announced a name change to Pioneer BioTech.)
In third place, winning $5,000, was E Glass Industries LLC (After market fiber reinforced composite auto body panels, designs and builds molds), Alexander Ellett, Redfield.
In fourth place, winning $3,000, was Provender Technologies LLC (Modernizing cattle feeding with automated feeding system –automated, remotely accessible, and data driven), Henry Wegehaupt, Dimock.
In fifth place, winning $2,000, was Thaumachron (De novo generation of patient-specific biologics that require only antigen sequences, allowing for cost effective, personalized, and patient specific treatments), Andrew Simpson, Rapid City.
In sixth place, winning $1,000, was Blue Sky Holdings LLC (Minimally invasive medical device to surgically stabilize rib fractures to accelerate recovery), Tung Nguyen, Ryan Oines and Steven Briggs, Sioux Falls.
Sponsors of the Giant Vision Business Competition are South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s Office of Economic Development; Black Hills Energy; Christiansen Land & Cattle Ltd.; Dacotah Bank; First National Bank in Sioux Falls; First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard; MidAmerican Energy; NorthWestern Energy; Valley Queen Cheese Factory; Wheeler Manufacturing and Xcel Energy.
The Giant Vision Competition is a program of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, located in Pierre. SD Chamber President David Owen stated, “The goal of this program is to encourage people to explore being a business owner and to create an exciting future while also expanding South Dakota’s economy. We have worked hard to produce an event that will benefit all of the businesses participating. While the prize money will help the finalists, the contacts and rigor required to be a qualifier will prepare each entrepreneur to advance their business idea.”
2022 was the sixteenth year of the college student competition. Entries were received from across South Dakota. Following a thorough review of the original applications, nine finalists were selected to compete and the winners of the Competition are:
Taking first place in this year’s student competition, winning $5,000, was Disappex LLC (Resin for 3D printers that will dissolve in water; initial application is molds for manufacturing products), Whytneigh Duffie, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.
In second place, winning $4,000, was ITE Solutions LLC (Automated asphalt paving system, fleet tracking and data collection), Nick Degen, Ben Diersen, Rick Kittelson and Kade Griesse, South Dakota State University.
In third place, winning $3,000, was SYNOZYME (Enzymatic biodegradation of un-recyclable consumer plastic products), Tawnie Williams, Northern State University.
In fourth place, winning $2,000, was Li-Tech Lures LLC (Patented fishing lure that allows user to control action of the tail), Philip Litecky, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.
In fifth place, winning $1,000, was Envision 3D (Custom gaming accessories), Justice Forster and Pack Forster, Dakota State University.
Giant Vision Student Competition Sponsors: South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s Office of Economic Development, Citibank N.A. and South Dakota EPSCoR.
The Governor’s Giant Vision Business and Student Competitions were established to help citizens realize that South Dakota is the very best place to start a successful business. The program was designed as an opportunity for entrepreneurs to compete for seed money and a chance to achieve their dream. This South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry program was founded and continues to be chaired by Brad Wheeler, President of Wheeler Manufacturing in Lemmon.