Innovation Awards

Innovation Awards

A major strategic focus of the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation (GSDC) is to foster and promote innovative thinking within and among area businesses and organizations. The GSDC Innovation Award, or I-Award, recognizes St. Cloud area for-profit and non-profit organizations employing innovation to solve problems and create opportunities. 

Four awards of $1,000 are presented at the November GSDC All Investors/Partners Meeting.    

  • One award to an emerging for-profit company
  • One award to an established for-profit company
  • One award to each of two non-profit organizations

How We Define Innovation

For the purpose of the awards we define innovation as a new product, service, practice, technology, or business model which is a fresh take on solving a challenge, has been implemented, has improved the experience of a stakeholder, and has added value and/or been monetized (generated revenue) for a business or organization.

Nomination Process

Anyone in our community can nominate a business or non-profit organization for an I-Award. Self-nominations are accepted, as well. Nominees are then invited to complete a short application. Eligible nominees are for-profit and non-profit organizations located within Benton, Sherburne and Stearns counties in Minnesota.


Nominee submissions will be evaluated on the relative economic and social impact of the innovation.

Selection Process

Applications will be reviewed by a committee of volunteers from the for-profit and non-profit communities. The committee will select the awardees. 

2022 GSDC Innovation Award Winners

Impacks – For-profit (emerging) – Impacks is a tech-powered company that simplifies the way parents and educators access critical supplies for students. Impacks launched in 2020, and has successfully brought to market a customized, prepackaged school supply kit solution. These supply kits are teacher-approved and tailored to each specific grade within a school. They are offered at less than half the national average cost.

Arbor Hair Studio – For-profit (established) – Arbor Hair Studio is a salon that uses products that are PPD free, ammonia free and contain naturally derived ingredients.  Arbor is also a Green Circle Salon, which means they collect, recycle and re-purpose hair clippings, papers, plastics, glass and spa waste.  For example, hair clippings are bailed into coils that are used to contain oil spills. 

Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity – Non-profit – In 2015, Central MN Habitat for Humanity partnered with Tech High School to create the School Build Program.  In Fall 2021, the program was expanded to Sartell and ROCORI High Schools.  The program educates 30 high school students per year at each school  under SCTCC supervision and instruction with hands-on learning experience in the home construction. The house will be Habitat house for a low income family in Central MN.

Central Minnesota Child Advocacy Center – Non-profit – CentraCare and community partners successfully created a “one-stop” approach that’s better for the children by creating the Central Minnesota Child Advocacy Center (CAC).  The CAC brings together a multidisciplinary team so children don’t have to repeat their physical, sexual, or emotional abuse story to multiple agencies at multiple times.