Prior to the Spring of 2016, an SDSM&T student could complete the short EMGE scholarship program and get their feet wet with entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, the student's next opportunity to participate in entrepreneurship was a highly-competitive business plan competition that required hundreds of hours of work. These students needed an entrepreneurial stepping stone. Thus, the SDSM&T Innovation Club for Entrepreneurs was formed by William Trevillyan to be a stepping stone for students who want to begin or continue learning about entrepreneurship prior to and after participating in EMGE, business plan competitions or their own startup companies.
Entrepreneurs learn to think creatively, manage people/resources, market products, communicate across many disciplines, negotiate and pitch. These skills are also vital to any type of career in any field a person chooses! The ability to communicate with others is especially important for engineers and scientists, who spend 65-75% of their time working with marketing teams and giving presentations to their bosses. Most engineers are terrible at all of these skills which is why our organization is focused on teaching them.
Our mission is to provide entrepreneurial resources and opportunities to students of the School of Mines as well as members of the community via weekly high-value meetings and semesterly conferences. We will focus our efforts on recruiting young students so that we can develop their business, innovation and leadership skills throughout their years at Mines while helping them participate in business plan competitions and their own startup companies. Within the next five years, ICE will strive towards achieving a total of fifteen student-run startup companies, and five teams who are successful at winning both of South Dakota's business plan competitions.
Entrepreneurs and professionals, working in business or marketing related fields, are invited to share their knowledge with our members through presentations open to the community. Speakers will be asked to teach high-level topics such as business negotiations, company aquisitions, google adwords or blockchain. Since the beginning, we have brought in over 20 speakers ranging from local entrepreneurs to international entrepreneurs cummulatively worth around $1 billion.
These meetings are for members to learn and practice the various processes of brainstorming business ideas and validating problems with potential customers. The ideas generated are free for any member to take, team up with and build a business plan that they can enter into the SDSM&T Student CEO and Governor's Giant Vision Business Plan Competitions.
These days are dedicated to improving the public speaking and pitch skills of our members. Students learn how to constuct and organize various styles of business pitches, as well as give impromptu business pitches in front of the group. When members walk through the door, they pick a couple business ideas out of a hat. Then they are given one minute prepare before they stand up and pitch, followed by constuctive critisism.
Attending our most valuable event in CO, ICE members will eat and network with 50 other competitors ranging from entrepreneurs to graphics designers. Audience members will give optional one-minute business pitches. Teams will form around the best ideas, and with help from experienced mentors, they will spend the next 54 hours building, validating, executing and pitching their companies to investors. More Info
Engineers Make Great Entrepreneurs (EMGE) is a scholarship program that awards $250 to around 50 SDSM&T students whom apply every year. The program starts within the first two weeks of the Fall semester. Scholars must attend four Monday evening dinners while listening to various local and regional entrepreneurs speak about their entrepreneurial journeys. At the end of the program, scholars will give one-minute presentations regarding how they will be an entrepreneur and what they have learned through the program. Scholars have the opportunity to win an extra $1,000 by giving the best presentation. More Info and Registration
The Rapid City Innovation Expo is a day-long entrepreneurial conference hosted every fall. From 8am - 5pm, members of the entrepreneurial community will give presentations on business topics, future economic growth opportunities for Rapid City, startup company pitches and etcetera. In addition, SDSM&T students will receive a free ticket to the conference via their participation in the Student Pitch Competition which is judged by local entrepreneurs. Teams with the best business pitches will receive up to $350. More Info and Registration
Every December, the South Dakota School of Mines hosts the Student CEO Business Plan Competition. Competiting teams are paired with experienced mentors whom are EIRs, otherwise known as Entrepreneurs in Residence with the school. The mentors help train teams as they build, write and pitch their business plans. In addition, these same mentors help to give constructive criticism after the competition so that teams can go on to compete in the SD Governor's Giant Vision Business Plan Competition. Competitors have the opportunity to win up to $3,000.More Info
After competiting in the SDSM&T competition, teams have the opportunity to enter the South Dakota Governor's Giant Vision Business Plan Competition in the Spring. EIRs from SDSM&T will be paired as mentors with each team just like with the SDSM&T competition. Teams have the option of entering the Student or the Open competition. Competitors have the opportunity to win up to $5,000 in the Student competition and $25,000 in the Open competition. The Open competition includes any startup companies in South Dakota as well making it much more difficult. More Info
The Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program brings seasoned entrepreneurs to SD Mines with a focus on new venture formation based on technology created through SD Mines' extraordinary research. These world class business executives and serial entrepreneurs are experienced at developing business plans, acquiring financing, scale-up manufacturing and seeking out appropriate management to begin operations. They are a resource to ICE members whom are looking to be mentored on their own startup companies and business plans. In addition, many EIRs in the region volunteer as guest speakers for the club. More Info
Ascent Innovation Center, formly known as the Black Hills Business Development Center, is located on the SD Mines campus. They currently lend cheap space and free legal/financial services to over 20 local technology startups. They provide many opportunities for members of the Innovation Club for Entrepreneurs. They offer public speakers occasionally and give students the opportunity to network with indivduals in the community. In the past, students have met senators, angel investors, local business owners and experienced mentors. Some School of Mines students have had the opportunity to intern for the early stage startups here as well.More Info
The Ascent Innovation Campus is a new multi-million dollar startup incubator and co-working space that will replace Ascent Innovation's building on the School of Mines campus. It will be under construction until 2023. The building will not only be a center where the Innovation Club for Entrepreneurs can meet, but also where startup companies can rent cheap working spaces. The center will host entrepreneurial conferences such as the Innovation Expo and Startup Weekend Black Hills, and it will have its own machine shop. Finally, it will be a place where like-minded students of the School of Mines can meet, network, learn and build startups. More Info
Hutchinson Car Audio started in Rapid City after Nick Hutchinson and Tom Voboril met while attending the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. As a team, they experimented with designing and manufacturing subwoofers many years ago. In the summer of 2017, their company was formed after they discovered how to manufacture high-quality subwoofers that used 1/4 of the power and energy that equivelant subwoofers from industry would. Within their a few months of their launch, they had already sold around 50 subwoofers. Their company even won 2nd place and $10,000 at South Dakota Governor's Giant Vision Competition. More Info
InTouch was founded by five SDSM&T students who volunteered to create a website for a local charity in 2017. Afterward, InTouch pivoted by creating virtual tours for a local company. Now, InTouch is a contracting company that gets hired for web, app and augmented reality development. InTouch is expanding into Fargo, ND with two teams working in the Rapid City area. Their teams in Rapid City consist of SDSM&T students whom work part-time throughout their years at Mines. InTouch expects to expand even more over the next few years.
Congratulations to Jenson Keller and William Trevillyan who won 1st place and a total of $8,000 at both the SDSM&T Student CEO Business Plan Competition and the South Dakota Governor's Giant Vision Business Plan Competition. Their company, Plateau EnergyFilms, was a energy-efficient window film manufacturer. Research conducted at Argonne National Laboratory was able to help them develop their core window film, PEF 70, which prevented infrared heat from passsing through windows during the summer while allowing transmittance of the heat during the winter saving their customers money.