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Mitchell Tech’s Quinn to Compete in Final Round of Governor’s Giant Vision Competition

Kelton Quinn, a member of Mitchell Tech’s first Entrepreneurship cohort and owner of KU Craftmanship, will compete Thursday as a finalist in the Governor’s Giant Vision Competition.

“I’m excited, but it’s a little nerve-racking,” the 21-year-old Milesville native said.

For his contest entry, Quinn stated that he is “experienced in woodworking and cabinetry (and) seeking to create a niche by delivering superior products and exceptional customer service.” His business launched late last year, as he continued his studies with Mitchell Tech’s Entrepreneurship program.

Ryan Van Zee, Entrepreneurship program director, assisted his students in entering the Giant Vision Competition as a part of their studies.

“Our students have already started their businesses and are getting clients and hoping to expand in their communities,” Van Zee said. “What better way to test their plan than to put it up against their peers’ business ideas across the state, and maybe win a little money to help get them to the next level?”

Quinn is among eight South Dakota student finalists competing for a $5,000 top prize. The finalists will host booths showcasing their business ideas from 9-11:30 a.m. at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. Competitors also will give individual presentations to a panel of judges and be scored on their business pitches, including topics such as market, opportunity, management and potential for growth. The competition runs in conjunction with the annual Governor’s Office of Economic Development Conference. Winners will be announced during a joint luncheon program.

Quinn is the only technical college student whose business plan was selected for the finals.

“I think this is just outstanding, that (Quinn) and his business would be selected for this, and that he would be up against finalists from four-year universities,” Van Zee said. “This honor says a lot about him and his business, but also about our program, that already we have students prepared to succeed at this caliber of competition.”

Other student finalists include:

  • Airborne Dynamic Systems| Innovative UAV technology that combines customization and adaptability, providing clients with comprehensive aerial data solutions. Zachary Holloway and Carson Daly, South Dakota Mines
  • Biotech Jet |Offers a revolutionary step-by-step instructional format that guides users through the entire regulatory compliance process. Avery Del Grosso, University of South Dakota
  • NAMI| Approach to mental health that is a fusion of psycho-performance and AI, setting it apart from competitors in the workplace wellness industry. Diana Li, Northern State University
  • Resto Rides| Ecommerce-based business that sells new, old (NOS) parts, accessories and vehicles. Justice Forster and Pack Forster, home school
  • SK Reproductions| Reproduced high-value rifles that address the unmet needs of gun owners who desire access to historically significant rifles. Storm King, South Dakota Mines
  • SwiftHumanity Rescue| Transformative solution to the challenge of delayed emergency response by connecting individuals in distress with nearby volunteers through a mobile application. Hosein Mirazi, South Dakota Mines
  • Tier Five| Unique and innovative solution to address campus safety concerns by providing a comprehensive app that combines campus resources, security features, and social engagement. Alexandria Arndt, Northern State University

Finalists in the open competition, who are competing for a top prize of $20,000, include:

  • AchiTalk| Simplify and enhance global recruitment and education processes through innovative AI solutions, making hiring efficient for companies and preparing students effectively for their careers. Florian Hoxha, Sioux Falls
  • Dakota Adventure Supply| Company dedicated to crafting not just outdoor gear, but symbols of adventure that endure. Mission extends beyond selling products; it’s about promoting a sense of adventure and building comradery with others. Jeff Hayward and Paxton Alsgaard, Sioux Falls
  • Desty LLC| Modernizing the travel agent industry, offering a one-of-a-kind service utilizing proprietary databases, algorithms and artificial intelligence. Alisha Vincent and Rajesh Kavasseri, Brookings
  • Kirkwall |Defends autonomous systems from critical failure. Algorithm enables cyber attack detection, diagnostic monitoring, and preventative maintenance for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), loT-enabled AgTech, and industrial systems. William Cromarty, Sioux Falls
  • Pioneer BioTech |Developing natural products derived from microbial fermentation, providing an eco-friendly alternative to chemical treatments for crop diseases. Matthew Cole and Brock Hansen, Brookings
  • Straight Up Care| Web-based platform ecosystem for substance use and mental health, Peer Specialists (PS) features a learning management system, HIPAA-compliant service delivery SaaS, reducing the nation-wide care burden and improving addiction and mental health outcomes for clients. Melissa Dittberner, Ph.D., Volin

Giant Vision is a program of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry, made possible by matching funds support for prize money from Governor Noem’s Office of Economic Development, with corporate contributions providing additional prize money and funds necessary to run the event. (No public funds are used to run the competition.)

The student competition is supported by Citi and SD EPSCoR. The business/open competition is supported by Black Hills Energy, Christiansen Land & Cattle, Ltd., Dacotah Bank, First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard, KELOLAND Media Group, MidAmerican Energy Company, NorthWestern Energy, Valley Queen Cheese and Wheeler Manufacturing.

The Giant Vision competitions were established to help citizens realize that South Dakota is the best place to start a business, to create jobs, and grow the state’s GDP. Program chair is Brad Wheeler, Wheeler Manufacturing of Lemmon. Wheeler was an original founder of the competition and is a past chair of the South Dakota Chamber Board of Directors.


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