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Dulas and Willert win Brookings Student Business Plan Competition

2019 Brookings Student Business Plan Competition
South Dakota State University students Dylan Dulas, left, and Kesmond Willert, middle, won the Brookings Student Business Plan Competition, Dec. 11 at the Brookings Innovation Center at the Research Park at South Dakota State University. They are pictured with Nick Fickbohm, a business consultant with the Enterprise Institute.

South Dakota State University students Dylan Dulas and Kesmond Willert won the Brookings Student Business Plan Competition, Dec. 11 at the Brookings Innovation Center at the Research Park at South Dakota State University.

Dulas, who is from Marshall, Minnesota, and Willert, of Brookings, also won the 2018 Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s Idea Competition and the 2019 Brookings Economic Development Corporation’s Idea Competition for their portable duck blind.

The Brookings Student Business Plan Competition started with 41 groups of SDSU students. The final eight teams presented their business plans Wednesday. The event is sponsored by Dacotah Bank, Daktronics Inc., EideBailly, First Bank and Trust and Woods, Fuller, Shultz and Smith. Sixteen teams split the $7,000 in prize money.

“This year’s event was based off the South Dakota Giant Vision Competition,” said Tim Weelborg, executive director of the Enterprise Institute. “One nice part about it was the community came together to hold this event for SDSU and its students, showing the collaborative partnership between SDSU, the Enterprise Institute and the corporate sponsors.”

Daniel Scholl, SDSU’s vice president for research and economic development, appreciated the community support.

“We’re in a pretty special situation where we have a supportive community with businesspeople who are waiting to be engaged with university ideas whether they are student ideas or faculty ideas. This competition is exciting for me because it did that successfully,” Scholl said.

“One thing that’s not often known is a land-grant university has a responsibility for building its community partly through economic development,” Scholl continued. “We often think of technology transfer of faculty inventions going into the economy, but a major avenue of economic development is enabling our really sharp, excited, creative students to move forward with their ideas.”

2019 Brookings Business Plan - runner-up
The second-place team of Evan Fick, Garretson; Anna Fasen, Monticello, Minnesota; and Caleb Bray, Farmington, Minnesota; and Fickbohm.
2019 Brookings Business Plan - third
The third-place team of Rhett Miller, Watertown; Ethan Wolff, Glencoe, Minnesota; Joseph Fuhr, Harrisburg; and Keegan Soukup, Mitchell; and Fickbohm.