What is the BIG Idea Competition?

To promote entrepreneurship, spur creative thinking, and encourage students to start a business.

  • A business idea competition for high school students
  • A 1,075-word description of a business idea
  • An optional Marketing Design competition which includes an ad for their idea
  • An opportunity to learn about business concepts and entrepreneurship
  • A chance to win a share of over $50,000 in cash and scholarships

This competition, launched in 2007, was created through the collaborative efforts of many organizations in South Dakota. This competition is about exposing youth to new ideas and innovation in the hopes that you will view entrepreneurship as an option for your future. Rather than leaving the region to look for a job, you can have the confidence to create your own opportunities close to home and know that there is support for you should you choose to do so. Homegrown businesses are key to the success of our rural communities.

Download Contest PoSTER (PDF)

Contest Timeline:

Completed online business ideas are due by October 31, 2023. Students who are selected as finalists will be invited to present their ideas to a panel of judges and the awards ceremony will take place that same day. The out of state competition will be held Tuesday, December 5, 2023 via zoom. The in-state final competition will be Wednesday, December 6, 2023.

Rules and Guidelines

Any high school student currently enrolled in a public, private or home school may submit a business idea entry. Ideas may also be submitted by a team of students (up to three students per team). A student (individually or as part of a team) may create as many entries as they wish as long as each business idea is different. Students will need to create a separate login for each entry. Finalists from prior BIG Idea competitions are not allowed to resubmit their previous business idea but may participate by submitting a new idea for the next competition.

More competition details can be found under the Rules tab on the website.