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
The Ann and Dave Braun Student Inventor Award was established to recognize a SD Mines student who has made a significant discovery or invention. The selected recipient of this award will be recognized at the Research Symposium, will receive a $5,000 cash prize and a free patent application from Goodhue, Coleman & Owens, P.C. Each student must deliver a signed invention disclosure to the office of Economic Development. You will be judged on the completeness and clarity of the invention disclosure (40%) and the utility, novelty and non-obviousness of the invention (60%). More Info & Application
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
Black Hills Regional Angel Fund, LLC provides financial resources for local startup companies that exhibit potential for growth and high economic impact. The fund is completely generated via local money from accredited private investors in the Black Hills and it invests in companies wanting to start in Rapid City and the surrounding Rushmore Region that are early-stage startups looking for investments between $50,000 and $250,000. Two of the primary managers of the angel fund are Darren Haar and Jim Quinn whom are EIR's for SDSM&T and mentors of our organization, the Innovation Club for Entrepreneurs.
Elevate Rapid City is an umbrella organization that was formed in 2018 to unite and share both financial and economic resources of the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, Ascent Innovation and leaders within the Rapid City economic development community. Elevate has four pillars of economic deveopment focus which are Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Ellsworth Airforce Base, Workforce Development and New Business Investment. The CEO of Elevate will be managing the new Ascent Innovation Campus where the Innovation Club for Entrepreneurs will have opportunity to access and use resources provided such as mentors, investor networks, and co-working space. 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 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.
During the 2017 / 2018 school year, 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.
AmmoNyte Systems LLC, founded by Joey Brown, is a technology company in water management solutions that combines automation technology and data with a goal of improving water quality. AmmoNyte is a low-cost and scalable solution to water management systems. The system uses a proprietary chemical sensor utilizing fluidics and electronics to create an automated solution for water management systems. The sensor offers precise and accurate measurements of chemicals, within water, and makes them available to users for insight into their water systems. Data is uploaded to the AmmoNyte database for further analysis and enhancement of the automation system. AmmoNyte’s vision is to eventually manage and track chemicals within water systems globally.
Tornado Aerodynamic Solutions, LLC is a business that designs drag reduction products for automobiles emphasizing in the trucking industry, allowing truck drivers to save thousands of dollars per year on fuel costs. Their flagship product Twistec is a vortex generator that decreases drag by 15-20% and increases fuel economy by 7-10%. TAS got its start in May 2018 in preparation for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Student CEO Business Plan Competition, placing 1st. TAS went on to win the SD Governor’s Giant Vision Student Business competition while being awarded the Braun Student Inventor Award as well. In total, TAS brought in $13,000 and a patent in prizes through the many competitions.
During the 2018 / 2019 school year, Kayla Kassa and William Trevillyan won both 3rd & 2nd place and a total of $5,000 at both the SDSM&T Student CEO Business Plan Competition and the South Dakota Governor's Giant Vision Business Plan Competition, respectively. Their company, HomeMetrics, was a student startup that manufactured IOT sensor networks that monitor the health of homes by gathering data on the water and electrical grids of each home. Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, the data gathered allowed for proactive, predictive and preventative maintenance. Not only did their system prevent damage saving the property owner money, but it also allowed their customers to focus on enjoying life rather than worrying about the health of their properties.
2018 3rd Place - Kayla Kassa & William Trevillyan - HomeMetrics
2017 1st Place - Jenson Keller & William Trevillyan - Plateau EnergyFilms
2019 2nd Place - William Trevillyan - HomeMetrics
2019 3rd Place - Justin Schroeder - Antier Skateboard
2018 1st Place - William Trevillyan - Plateau EnergyFilms
Founder 2016 - 2018
Chemical Engineer & Chemist