Nice Idea

An Idea Competition for North Dakota

Nice Idea is an entrepreneurship program for North Dakota middle and high school students where they:

  • Learn to be creative and entrepreneurial
  • Connect with mentors and actual problems that need solving
  • Showcase their ideas and win support to make those ideas a reality

Learn how it works, read frequently asked questions, or order your Nice Idea kits.

Nice Idea launched in 2020 and over 500 students from across North Dakota participated. Join us in fall 2021 for new curriculum and activities!


How it Works

Nice Idea can be used in the classroom or as an extracurricular program. Students first learn about entrepreneurship in a series of four short experiential lessons. We estimate about 4-one hour lessons to complete the curriculum. This should be completed by October 31.

After completing the lessons, students form teams and are given a set of problems to choose from. They connect with their team to craft solutions to this problem, knowing their idea will directly improve their local community. They finalize their solution by November 5th.

Finally, students showcase their idea at a statewide competition. A panel of experts choose winners who receive cash prizes and resources to make their ideas a reality. The Nice Center at NDSU also provides scholarships for students who want to continue exploring entrepreneurship after high school. The final showcase is hosted virtually in late November.

Why Nice Idea?

Entrepreneurship is creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking – essential skills for everyone, regardless of what they do in the future.

How To Get Involved

We are looking for schools, teachers and students to participate in Nice Idea. Sign up below to bring the program to your school, organization or home.

You can also learn how to integrate Nice Idea into your classroom in the following webinars:

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the minimum age to participate? We recommend 13+ and the program is geared towards 8-12 grades. 

How much does Nice Idea cost to participate? Nice Idea is free to all North Dakota participants for Fall 2021. 

When are we supposed to start? Nice Kits will begin shipping on September 15. It’s up to you when you want to start, but we ask that all curriculum is complete by October 31 if you plan on competing in Nice Idea Showcase. 

What’s included in the Nice Kit? The Nice Kit includes Facilitator Cards, Activities and materials needed for the lessons. 

What if our school has to proceed with distance learning? Nice Idea can be used in a classroom or as an extracurricular program virtually or in-person. If you’re moving to online learning and have questions about how to modify the program, please contact us!

How big should student groups be if we decide to participate in the Nice Idea competition? We recommend 4-6 students, but can vary based on your total class size. Please note that as the group gets bigger, each student plays less of a role.

What will the competition entail in November? Students that opt into the showcase will be given a problem on October 25th and get connected to their team to apply their learning to develop solutions. Teams will present their solutions via a three-minute recorded pitch and the top five teams will advance to participate in ND Innovation Day. A panel of experts will choose winners who will receive cash prices and NDSU scholarships for those that want to continue exploring entrepreneurship after high school.

Do you have rules for the competition in November? All information, including eligibility and judging criteria, about the 2020 Nice Idea Showcase can be found here. Details for the 2021 competition will be released this fall. 

If we have questions about Nice Idea, who can we contact? Please contact Marie Bitzan at