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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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College of Business Announces Big Ideas Challenge Winner

Sophomore Jackson Jones won $12,000 for his business, Primate Longboards.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 4-28-2017

Jackson Jones (center in picture), displays some of his company's longboards. (Photo courtesy of Brandon Poliszuk.)

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Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato’s College of Business announced Wednesday that sophomore Jackson Jones, an international business major from Madison, S.D., has won $12,000 to further his business, Primate Longboards, in the College’s third annual Big Ideas Challenge.

The Big Ideas Challenge is a new venture competition conducted by the College of Business that encourages and celebrates students’ and recent graduates’ innovative ideas and business plans. It gives students the opportunity to compete for money to fund their business and is open to any Minnesota State Mankato student or alumnus within two years of graduating. Individual and team entries are welcome.

Jones, a 2015 Madison (S.D.) High School graduate, was among five finalists who made business presentations to a panel of judges in front of a live audience Wednesday in Minnesota State Mankato’s Ostrander Auditorium.

Primate Longboards, manufactures and sells handcrafted organic longboards. Its mission is to provide customers with longboards that are both reliable and exceptional while supporting the community and positively affecting the environment by lowering emission rates and planting trees.

Other 2017 Big Ideas Challenge finalists included:

  • Food Truck and Ice Skating Rink – a community ice skating rink in the winter that would transform to a skate park in the summer on Riverfront Drive and involve a rich atmosphere of music, art, family activities and food truck services.
  • MESSY Dog LLC – which provides force free, positive reinforcement, science-based methods of dog training for dogs and their owners. The big idea for MESSY Dog is to expand the business to include low-stress grooming services from a groomer certified in low stress handling.
  • Webytor – a website builder, or application, where people can create their website with a private domain or subdomain without having any coding knowledge or website layout knowledge.
  • ProtoTec Solutions – offers affordable 3D printing with a plan to start an online marketplace to offer pre-printed products. The company offers this service and a rate much lower than most commercial 3D printing facilities so it is more attainable for the public.

Minnesota State Mankato alumnus Craig Lloyd and his family, of Lloyd Companies, donated the prize money.

For more information, contact Amy Linde, director of communication & events in Minnesota State Mankato’s College of Business, by phone at 507-389-5424 or by email at

The College of Business kicks off its Big Ideas Challenge each fall, with students participating in a preparation workshop series, individual consulting services provided by the Small Business Development Center at Minnesota State Mankato and more. Student ideas are judged on innovation, feasibility and impact in two competition rounds, with five finalists announced in the spring.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,110 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which comprises 31 state institutions. 

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