As host of the Governor’s Giant Competition, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry event Chair Brad Wheeler, President of Wheeler Manufacturing, announced the winners of the 2023 business and student business competitions.
After a preliminary judging process that reduced the field of applicants to those selected as qualifiers for 2023, the competition concluded with final judging activities Tuesday, April 25, at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. The awards were presented during the GOED Conference luncheon program, held in conjunction with Giant Vision. Winners of the two competitions were announced by South Dakota Chamber President David Owen, with Governor Kristi Noem congratulating the honorees.
2023 marks the nineteenth year of the Giant Vision Business Competition. The following winners were selected as this year’s startup standouts.
This year’s first-place $20,000 winner was My Part Pros LLC (Cloud-based software solution providing a range of features, including picking prioritization, automated order tracking, real-time updates on delivery status, and optimized delivery routes), Elliott Zimmer and David Zimmer, Sioux Falls
In second place, winning $10,000, was CellField Technologies LLC (Contract research organization utilizing microphysiological system (MPS) to provide services to pharmaceutical companies, decreasing drug development costs and dependence on animal models), Scott Wood and Hosein Mirazi, Rapid City
In third place, winning $5,000, was Straight Up Care LLC (Web-based platform for Peer Specialists (PS) that features a training course, and matching algorithm to bring new PS to the job market, reducing the nationwide care burden and improving addiction and mental health client outcomes), Melissa Dittberner and Jonathan Lewis, Volin
Two companies tied for fourth place, winning $2,500 each. Advanced Radiation Technology & Solutions LLC (Cloud-based platform for Monte Carlo simulations of radiation interactions with matter, allowing users to build, visualize, and share models of specific objects and environments without any coding experience), Jing Liu and Chao Zhang, Vermillion and Latitude-Ag LLC (Unique system to more efficiently and effectively clean out agricultural sprayers, reducing operator exposure to chemicals, and eliminating wasted chemicals), Ladd McCluskey, Humboldt
In fifth place, receiving $1,000, BioBest (Minimally invasive, viable, bioinspired ventilation systems for scrubbing effectively the airborne pollutants and toxic fumes from mine ventilation air), Cody Allen and Venkataramana Gadhamshetty, Rapid City
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 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 competitors. While the prize money will help the finalists, the contacts made and rigor required to be a qualifier will help all to advance their business ideas.”
2023 was the seventeenth year of the college student competition. Entries were received from across South Dakota. Following a thorough review of the original applications, ten finalists were selected to compete and the winners of the Competition are:
Taking first place in the student competition, winning $5,000, was CounSil (Web-based software solution that guarantees the efficiency and effectiveness of the funding and purchasing processes in the military), John Barbour, SD School of Mines & Technology
In second place, winning $4,000, was was eqUTI (Urinary tract infection prevention in women), Grace Kramer, Northern State University
In third place, winning $3,000, Vizion UAS (Next-generation precision agricultural services to aid farming efficiency), Zackery Holloway, Gerald Waterhouse, Devin Filter and Micah Healy, SD School of Mines & Technology
In fourth place, winning $2,000, was Bio-Navitas (Production of renewable and sustainable graphitized carbon products from corn stover to be used as electrode material for supercapacitors), Bharathkiran Maddipudi and Khang Huynh, SD School of Mines & Technology
In fifth place, winning $1,000, was Score-Score (Combines a social media platform with a robust music database. The platform enables band directors to catalog and track pieces they are interested in, with its recommendation engine providing personalized suggestions), Chami Senarath, Haakon Anderson, Christian Olson and Haley Armstrong, SD School of Mines & Technology
Competitors placing out of the prize money in both competitions receive a $500 stipend to assist with the cost participating.
Giant Vision Student Competition Sponsors: South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s Office of Economic Development, Citi and South Dakota EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research).
The Governor’s Giant Vision Business and Student Competitions were established to help citizens realize that South Dakota is the 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.