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DWU's Soesbe wins first place at Student Idea Competition

Seth Soesbe, a senior from Gregory, took first place at the Student Idea Competition last month. This competition is part of the annual Innovation Expo in Sioux Falls.

Seth Soesbe, a senior from Gregory, took first place at the Student Idea Competition last month. This competition is part of the annual Innovation Expo in Sioux Falls.

Soesbe's idea for self-driving robot got him to finals, but it was his sales pitch that brought it home.

"My product - a self-driving robot - can help save in labor, help workers ergonomically and improve quality and accuracy in work," Soesbe said. "The robot can be programed to do things like screw down construction panels, such as subfloor sheets."

As the winner, Soesbe also received a $350 prize. Soesbe is an entrepreneurial leadership major with an emphasis in construction management. He heard about the competition through class with Ryan VanZee, associate professor of entrepreneurship and executive director of the Kelley Center at DWU. VanZee helped Soesbe focus his idea and came to the presentations for moral support, but Soesbe developed the idea on his own.

"The idea has been rolling in my mind for a few months and hearing of the competition just forced me to solidify the idea as best I could," Soesbe said.

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After the competition, Van Zee connected Soesbe with BankWest in Mitchell, which has created an entire space in their downtown office called the Entrepreneurial Center. This center is specifically for student entrepreneurs to have office space and office hours and connect with those who can help scale their business.

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