Top prize is $10K

    The IDEA Competition, a program of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF), held its 11th Annual IDEA Competition Awards Banquet on Tuesday. Three winners, two runners-up, and the Regional Impact Award were announced at the event, which took place at Bemidji State University’s Beaux Arts Ballroom.

    The following businesses were named the 2019 winners of the IDEA Competition:

    • 1st Place ($10,000): ELITE Additive – Mike Block, Bemidji ELITE Additive provides professional automation technologies, 3D printing, and Additive Manufacturing Services.  They help companies adopt and integrate the necessary equipment to help them get into mainstream production. They also consult on the process from start to finish, such as part design and part printing.

    • 2nd Place ($5,000): Bullseye Variable Diameter Discharge – Gary Ward, Twin Valley The Bullseye Variable Diameter Discharge is an elegant solution to centering grain in a storage bin.  This product helps maximizes storage capacity, reduces or eliminates shoveling, and is the first step in good storage management practices.

    • 3rd Place ($3,500): D3D – Todd and Melinda Sandwick (Fosston) and Bryce Oakes, Bemidji D3D has developed a new dental appliance that is being made and distributed in a way that has never been done before in the dental industry. The TMB Flipper will revolutionize the way “flippers”, or partial removable dentures, are manufactured and sold.

    In addition to their cash prizes, these winners will receive valuable business coaching and consulting.

    The runners-up were:

    • Silver Wings Coffee Company – Hokuf Family, Bemidji

    • Lake of the Woods Brewing Company – Taras and Audry Manzie, Eric and Lindsay Nerland, Warroad

    These runners-up receive $2,000 in cash. D3D also took home the MN Cup Award, which includes an automatic entry into the MN Cup competition semi-final round. The MN Cup competition is the premier resource for early state entrepreneurs, supporting and accelerating the development of breakthrough business ideas across Minnesota.

    In addition to the competition winners, Michelle Landsverk was honored with the Regional Impact Award for her years of service as a community leader and entrepreneur. Landsverk owns her own consulting firm, Landsverk & Associates, based out of Fosston.

    For additional information about the winners, their businesses, and the IDEA Competition, visit

    IDEA has been made possible by the generous contributions of the following sponsors: Northwest Minnesota Foundation, Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, Bremer Bank of Crookston and Warren, Security Bank USA, America’s SBDC of Minnesota, Minnkota Power, United Valley Bank, Headwaters Regional Development Commission, LaunchPad, Northwest Regional Development Commission, University of Minnesota Crookston, and Far North Spirits.