2017-05-18 / Headlines

SGU Students Win Innovation Challenge


MISSION – Kyle Long Crow and Jess Dubray, undergraduate students at Sinte Gleska University (SGU), are both winners of the 2017 Native American Innovation Challenge.

Both students were recognized for their winning concepts during the 2017 Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) Banquet held April 26 in Sioux Falls, according to a press release. They were encouraged to compete in the 2018 Governor’s Giant Vision Business Competition for a chance to receive up to $20,000 in funding to make their idea a reality.

According the 2020 Vision: The South Dakota Science and Technology (S&T) plan, innovation begins with ideas that have the capacity to generate new value in the form of new or improved products, processes, services, and the technologies and designs that enable their usefulness. SGU students are utilizing the 2017 Native American Innovation Challenge competition as an opportunity to bring their innovations to life and benefit their communities through economic and workforce development.

The Native American Innovation Challenge is a cosponsored competition by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), the South Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (SD EPSCoR, the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Administration (SBA) Federal and State Technology (FAST) program.

The competition provided an opportunity for tribal college students to receive funding towards the investment of a proposed business concept that encourages innovation, identifies a need within the tribal community and proposes sustainable outcomes with a goal to impact economic and workforce development in tribal communities.

“By participating in the Native American Business Innovation Challenge, I have found tremendous support and inspiration from all walks of life,” stated Jess Dubray. “It has helped me build confidence and structure for an endeavor that will benefit not only the Oyate but all of South Dakota and surrounding areas.”

Dubray’s winning business concept titled Vinyl-ly Alive, will create a destination record/music store and live music venue on the Rosebud Reservation as a means to grow cultural awareness and impact economic development on the reservation. This initiative is designed to provide area youth, community members and tourists an educational, musical outlet that allows the listener to expand their thinking along a continuum of cultural, generational and global spectrum to build a positive community bond.

Kyle Long Crow’s business concept was titled Infinite Energy Systems and proposed an alternate approach to energy production using static electricity created by magnets. This approach offers the potential of fulfilling most of the world’s energy needs while dramatically reducing dependency on fossil fuels and other carbon emitting fuels, with a market span from big energy to small independent contractors based on technologies that range from aqua filter generation for local waterways to electrostatic conduction chambers for high energy needs. The Infinite Energy System would support environmental restoration by transitioning from fossil fuels to electrostatic conduction.

The 2017 Native American Innovation Challenge competition is a component of the SBA FAST grant program; a $125,000 grant received in 2016 by the GOED from the United States SBA to support technology based entrepreneurs and commercialization of innovations. The FAST grant program supports entrepreneurial events such as the Native American Innovation Challenge. For more information regarding SBA Fast Grant program, visit

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