Nice Idea Brings Entrepreneurship Competition into ND High Schools

Students across the state will learn key entrepreneurial lessons and build solutions for their communities as a part of the program.

The entrepreneurial mindset is an essential skill for everyone, regardless of what they do in the future. This past year, we have focused primarily on NDSU’s campus and in the community. Today, we are excited to announce a new program in partnership with Microsoft to include high school students in our work.

Nice Idea is an entrepreneurship program for North Dakota high school students that:

  • Teaches students to be creative and entrepreneurial
  • Connects students with actual problems that need solving
  • Hosts a statewide competition where students share their ideas and win support to make those ideas a reality

The program is built for the moment, with virtual options and support from The Nice Center. It can be used in the traditional classroom, in remote classrooms, as a part of clubs (DECA, FBLA, 4H, etc.), and by parents as an activity after school or for home schooling.

By helping students think creatively and applying those ideas to their own community, we believe these students can immediately improve their communities while also building the next generation of entrepreneurs, leaders, and problem-solvers.

How Nice Idea Works

Nice Idea can be used in the classroom or as an extra-curricular program. Students first learn about entrepreneurship in a series of four short experiential lessons built with the Youth Entrepreneurs curriculum. We estimate about 10 hours of instruction to complete the program.

After completing the lessons, students form teams and are given a specific problem from a local business or government that needs solutions. They work with their mentor and The Nice Center to create solutions, knowing their idea will directly improve their local community.

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.

How To Get Involved in Nice Idea


First, we are looking for schools and teachers to participate in Nice Idea and help shape the program to inspire students and compliment the important work you are engaged in on a daily basis. This could be a school teacher, a parent, or a leader of organizations like DECA, FBLA, 4H, etc.

We are hosting a webinar Thursday, July 9th at 11am Central to share ideas on integrating entrepreneurship into the classroom. This is a perfect way for teachers to learn more about the program and find activities that they can implement in their classes this fall. Learn more about the webinar and register here.

Even if you can’t make the webinar, you can sign up on the form at the bottom of this page to get more information and join the fall cohort.


Second, we match each student team with a mentor. This can be a business person or active community member who is willing to meet, virtually or in-person, with the team three or four times to help them improve their idea. We estimate roughly a four-hour commitment. We do our best to place mentors with communities they care most about. Since we are building the program to be virtual, mentors can participate from anywhere.

Sign up at the bottom of the page if interested.

Companies and Communities

Finally, the student teams will work to solve a problem presented to them from a local company or community organization. This could be a city government, a local non-profit, or a local business.

The students will listen to the challenge the organization is facing and come up with their best potential solution, which will then be presented back to the organization. Ideally, we hope to equip our students with resources and connections to make these ideas a reality.

If you or someone you know has a problem for the students to work on, please share those details with us here.

Create Change with Nice Idea

We don’t have to wait until our high school students graduate to have them take an active role in our communities and businesses. With a little bit of training, they can share their creativity and energy to make North Dakota a better place to be. Nice Idea aims to bring out those big ideas and provide a way for students to take action.

We hope you’ll help. Sign up, spread the word, and join us to share your Nice Idea.

Sign Up to Get Involved

Posted on July 7th, 2020 by Scott in Events