November 3, 2016
Hats off to Lake Area Tech Business Associate/Entrepreneur student Sierra Lutz from Eureka, SD, for earning one of six finalist spots at the Innovation Expo, hosted on October 13 by the Enterprise Institute in Sioux Falls. Approximately 170 college students from six South Dakota universities competed for a place in the final round.
Sierra’s innovative idea was to create a smart phone app that could control a hair straightener or curling iron from anywhere. “If you are at your job, you could shut it off from there,” she said. That idea secured her a fourth place finish and a $100 cash prize. “I came up with my idea because I always leave my curling iron or hair straightener on and remember when I get to work or school,” she explained. “I either have to run home or ask my roommates to go check and it’s just a pain.”
Melissa Meidinger, LATI Business Associate/Entrepreneur instructor said she requires all of her first-year Entrepreneur students to submit ideas to the contest in her Opportunity Analysis class.
“I am so proud of Sierra!” she exclaimed. “There were 170 submissions for the contest this year so to be in the top six is pretty prestigious. This is the second year in a row that an LATI student has placed in the top six! I believe the Innovation Expo is so important to support and attend every year. They bring in entrepreneurs who share their real stories of what it’s like to take an idea and create a business. The struggle isn’t always easy or pretty. I like the real-life experiences they hear about. I also love the networking that occurs at this event. The Innovation Expo committee truly brings in the best of the best in the region when it comes to entrepreneurs, students, investors and businesses!”
Sierra was in good company in the final round. She competed against students from Augusta University, South Dakota State University, Dakota Wesleyan University, and the University of South Dakota.