11th Annual IDEA Competition Awards Local Entrepreneur
The IDEA Competition gives entrepreneurs a way to kick-start their business ideas. IDEA Competition Coordinator Philip Knutson said the process puts participants through rounds of judging, training and business coaching.
“They submit business plans and financials and do presentations and along the way we do some labs with some training,” Knutson said. “Throughout the process they utilize the SPDC consultant – it’s kind of an idea coach helping them through the process, putting things together.”
This year, there was an entrepreneurial panel where three business entrepreneurs spoke about the start of their own company.
There were five finalists, with businesses ranging from a brewing company to a 3D printing manufacture to a coffee company with a unique marketing strategy.
“Our coffee is a World War II themed coffee, we want to support preserving the legacy of the Greatest Generation,” Founder of Silver Wings Coffee Company Sarah Hokuf said. “So that’s the people that served in World War II and supported the war efforts and also the aircraft that flew in World War II.”
There have been a total of 32 IDEA winners in the past. This year’s winner was based on a 3D printing innovation.
“So what we do is companies that are looking to go mainstream with certain product lines with 3D printing, we come and help them out on the post print side. Whether that be part finishing, support removal all the way through, through part handling,” Owner and Founder of Elite Additive Mike Block said.
Block said that before venturing out on his own, he was in the industry for over a decade. He said he saw a need for production automation solutions for the back end of the 3D printing process.
“The issue with the industry today is non-implantation of production principles or manufacturing principles have really slowed down the industry to mainstream productions. So that’s really where Elite Additive fits in,” Block said.
Block said his next step is to continue to advance his business.