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Abigale Brunstad of Menomonie is a finalist in the second annual “Big Idea” competition at the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Bradley University in Illinois, with $20,000 up for grabs.

The goal is to foster the innovation and ingenuity of our students and to help them bring their ideas to life.

Brunstad’s Big Idea is called Pup Date, a social media-oriented app that allows dog owners to find play friends for their pets.

The Big Idea contest started with 37 ideas. The first round (completed) required students to develop a business idea. In the second round (completed), 25 competitors gave an elevator pitch to judges and set up a trade show booth to explain and promote their idea.

The final round of judging will take place April 23, where the finalists will write a complete business plan with financial projections for the first three years and give a 10 minute presentation to the judges.

Ken Klotz, Managing Director of the Turner School, says a program like this gives students, who always have ideas, a way to develop them and practice entrepreneurship in real life.

“It’s not a business plan contest. It’s about developing a skill set and aptitudes that might be harder to develop in a classroom setting,” Klotz said.

The amount of prize money might also be enough to launch their idea or accomplish a major milestone, Klotz said.

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