A History of Giant Vision’s Success

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Published on:

April 11, 2023

Surveying past competitors is a time-consuming process. Time-consuming but necessary. Every five years, we work to make contact with hundreds of former competitors to track their progress. 2021 was the most recent survey year and the following is a report of the results.


September 2021. Over the last four to five months, an extensive effort was put forth to obtain current job numbers and funding information on competitors from 2005 through 2020. The following represents the results of that survey.

The goals of starting businesses and creating jobs leads to the question, “Has the Giant Vision Competition achieved the goal it was created to achieve?” The answer is yes it has, with the creation of an estimated 867 jobs b­y 60 of the companies that have competed.

The specific data is revealed below but readers must be aware that the data has been collected via several surveys sent to past competition participants, contestants that were contacted individually by staff, or information provided by other individuals representing agencies that worked with competitors. In spite of these efforts, many of the contestants either could not be located or did not respond. Since the inception and through 2020, there have been 444 applicants to the business competition.

Here is a summary of several rounds of data collection.

  • In 2015, we identified 622 new jobs from 32 companies that could be attributed at least in part to the Giant Vision competition which represented a 10% success ratio and at an average cost of $943 per job.
  • In 2021, we contacted entrants from the years of 2005-2020. We recorded 867 new South Dakota jobs created by 60 individual companies. With an historic total of 444 applicants in the business competition from 2005 thru 2020, the responding companies represent a 14% of the total. By dividing the amount of $666,500 in prize money paid through 2020 by 867 jobs identified, the average per job cost is down to $769.
  • During the six years between these surveys, we have identified new job growth of 535 jobs. These 535 jobs are part of the 867 jobs identified during the 2021 survey.

Jobs that have left the state. There persists a common critique that many of the businesses that competed in the Giant Vision Competition and were successful in the market place, have moved out of state or were sold to out of state owners and are no longer in South Dakota. While this is bound to happen to any successful enterprise and it has surely happened to some of the competitors in Giant Vision, there is no evidence that this has happened to many of the competitors or that a change of ownership has resulted in a total loss of South Dakota jobs. Consider one of the competition’s most successful contestants – DocuTap.

Prior to DocuTap’s 2019 merger with Experity, 290 local jobs were recorded. With the merger, 105 of those jobs were moved out of state, with Experity noting a total of 585 jobs, 185 jobs of which were in South Dakota. That’s still 185 jobs for residents of Sioux Falls that did not exist before DocuTap was created.

This year’s survey also sought to track investment dollars, SBIR funding and GOED/REDI funding. Our research shows nearly $19 million* in SBIR funding awarded to 13 companies; 19 of the 60 companies represented in this survey raised equity and 10 received GOED REDI or POC funds.

*Note regarding investment dollars:  These numbers do not include the considerable amount of equity raised by DocuTap or a recent multi-million-dollar acquisition of 2020 winner Nanopareil out of Rapid City.

The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry will continue to track the successes that result from the Governor’s Giant Vision Competition.