The IDEA Competition has released the names of its 2017 finalists who will now move into the final phase of the competition:


  • Bare Cloth – Keila McCracken, Turtle River
  • Bolton Bees – Chiara & Travis Bolton, Hubbard County
  • DeanUltraThinRetainer – Todd Sandwick, Fosston
  • Raptor Rack – Jeremy Leffelman, Bemidji
  • Squarrel – Russ Karasch & Robert Monahan, Park Rapids
  • Stittsworth Meats – Mychal Stittsworth, Bemidji


This year’s winners will be selected by a judging panel comprised of members from the three area equity funds, bankers, successful entrepreneurs, and business development professionals. The panel will choose up to three winners who will each receive $10,000 to advance their business idea, plus additional technical assistance.

Winners will be announced at the IDEA Competition Awards Banquet to be held April 25, from 5:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Beaux Arts Ballroom on the campus of Bemidji State University.

For more information on the IDEA Competition, go to

IDEA assists the most promising local entrepreneurs in the commercialization of innovative products, processes and deliveries by connecting them to the best resources available along with access to the capital if takes to launch a successful venture.

IDEA sponsors are: 360º Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence, Border State Bank, Bremer Bank Crookston and Warren, First National Bank Mahnomen, Minnkota Power Cooperative Inc., Northwest Minnesota Foundation, Northwest Minnesota Small Business Development Center, Security Bank USA, University of Minnesota Crookston, and Landsverk and Associates.