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The Idea Challenge Grand Prize Winner Announced

Posted by Christina on December 5th, 2013

On December 4th John Gustafson was named the grand prize winner of The Idea Challenge 2013 and was presented a $5,000 check on behalf of the EDC and Northwestern Bank, the 2012 program sponsor. This money is reimbursable towards expenses to advance Gustafson’s idea – The THOR Mini Quick-TachTM – to the marketplace.  This idea was selected from five finalists

“I think the most valuable aspect of this program is that it required me to go through the process of formalizing the presentation of my product,” stated Gustafson. “This will be very beneficial as I move forward in trying to sell the concept to manufacturers.”

The THOR Mini Quick-TachTM  is a universal quick-attach system for sub-compact utility tractors that allows the operator to switch from one attachment to another safely and securely in a matter of seconds.  The THOR Mini Quick-TachTM  product line includes several attachments such as a fork, snow blade, ballast box, tree spade, ripper, scoop, leveler, utility box, boom-lift, and a carry-all. Receiver plates are available allowing individuals to build their own attachments.  In addition, the tractor’s original loader bucket can be retrofitted and used with the THOR system. Gustafson was awarded $500 cash and $1,000 in technical assistance in rounds one and two of The Idea Challenge.

A record number of 131 applications were submitted to The Idea Challenge this year.  Of these, 25 applicants were selected to present their ideas to The Idea Challenge Partners.  The five finalists were selected from this group.   The EDC and its partners are working with applicants, in addition to the finalists, whose ideas are feasible product concepts.

A special thank you to The Idea Challenge Partners for their ongoing commitment of time and knowledge, which makes this program a success.

Thank you to all who submitted applications to The Idea Challenge 2013.  Applications are already being accepted for The Idea Challenge 2014 and can be submitted at