Oct 16, 2019 | By: Malaak Khattab

LaValley Industries ‘Celebration Of Innovation’ Kicks Off 12th Annual IDEA Competition

The Celebration of Innovation was an event to kick-off the annual IDEA Competition. LaValley Industries hosted the event to get community members excited. Jason LaValley says the event to him is all about giving back, especially since he was involved in the competition back in 2010.

“10 years later, we’re doing well with that product that we brought to the IDEA Competition. We’re selling it all over the world, so now with that success it’s nice to give back,” LaValley said.

LaValley Industries Partner and Chief Financial Officer George Prince says the aim of the event is to create awareness and excitement for people in the community and help them take their idea to the next level.

“There’s a lot of fear when you have a new idea; first off, you’re not sure what to do, just the fear of what’s the next step. ‘I’ve got this idea, I’ve had it for a while, what do I do with it?’ But then also just a fear of, ‘hey, what if my idea is no good? What if I tell somebody my idea and they laugh at me or they think it’s a bad idea?’ So, we want to encourage people to at least explore it,” Prince said.

The event featured a panel discussion with seven past winners talking about their experiences and what they gained from participating in the annual competition. Erik Hokfu, General Manager for AirCorps Aviation and past IDEA winner, says people who are thinking of applying to the competition should just do it.

“There’s always something you can be afraid of to hold you back from doing it,” Hokuf said. “But, the big thing the IDEA Competition is the fact that it’s going to encourage you, and help you work through a business plan and work on your idea and makes sure it works,” Hokuf said.

Eric Carlson, a teacher from Keliher Public School, attended the event and says he wants to try and get his students involved in this year’s competition.

“I’m interested in identifying the students in my class that could really do well with this competition, because I think that, every time I set a kid out to a competition, they blossom,” Carlson said. “They can feel good about a grade that I give them, but when they reach a broader community that’s when they really shine.”

Carlson says he will present the idea of the competition to his students and will help and support the students who are self-motivated and interested in participating in it. The kick-off event gave community members an opportunity to network with past IDEA winners and to check out some product demos that were on display.

LaValley Industries has agreed to sponsor the Northwest Minnesota Foundation’s IDEA Competition for the next three years. Applications for the competition opens November 1st.

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