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Students developing a 'Rent My Trailer' website for BIG Idea Competition

Olivia and Ian Grinager

Olivia Grinager and Ian Grinager talk with each other at Rapid City Christian School. The two students are finalists in the BIG Idea Competition, coordinated by the South Dakota Small Business Development Center. They worked with a third student, Jakob Thompson, who attends the Colman-Egan School District.

Fusing an imaginative business idea with technology, a group of students – including two from Rapid City – will compete as finalists in the BIG Idea Competition, scheduled for Dec. 8 at Northern State University in Aberdeen.

Olivia Grinager, Ian Grinager and Jakob Thompson – on a team representing Rapid City Christian School and the Colman-Egan School District – are among the finalists for the competition, coordinated by the South Dakota Small Business Development Center with funding and collaboration from many other businesses and organizations in the state.

Eight teams were selected out of 238 applications submitted from 33 schools, according to a news release from the Small Business Development Center.

The competition is designed to prompt students to think about their own region, considering opportunities for creating a business close to where they live.

Olivia Grinager and Ian Grinager contemplated their project on a recent morning. They’re devising a plan to bring together people who have trailers and who aren’t using them with people who need them – at least for a little while. They’re calling it “Rent My Trailer.”

“We were just brainstorming for an idea, and one day our (great) uncle wanted to rent a trailer, but there was no place to go,” said Ian Grinager, a sophomore at RCCS.

“It’s kind of like an Airbnb for trailers,” added Olivia Grinager, a senior at RCCS.

The two students – a sister-brother combination – are working with Thompson, a freshman at the Colman-Egan School District, via Zoom and other virtual meetings.

“I came up with the rough draft of what the rough draft should look like, and we sent it to our friend Jakob to actually make the website,” Ian Grinager said.

Olivia Grinager explained her role.

“I’m doing marketing and getting it out to different social media sites,” she said. “I’ll go on to Instagram and Facebook and post about it, and follow people who might be interested in it.”

Thompson, talking by phone from Colman, said he’s been drawn to website design for some time. This project, as he described it, seemed to be a natural for him.

“It lets me create something, and I can see it as it’s being made,” he said of website design.

Ease of use is one key goal for the website, as Thompson explained it.

“I started by making the homepage and then added the shop (section) so you could rent the trailer,” he said. “And then I added a page where you could submit your own trailer.”

Olivia and Ian Grinager said the site could include more information than a general website since it’s more specialized. It also allows people to rent out their own trailers.

All three students said they relish math and technology and are looking in those directions as they imagine their future studies and careers. Olivia Grinager described her interest in terms of problem-solving.

“My brain just automatically makes things easier,” she said. “So if there’s something slowing me down, I just make it better.”

The three students submitted their “Rent My Trailer” for proposal for contest-judging in an online report.

Prizes include cash awards ranging from $100 to $1,000, according to the news release from the Small Business Development Center, along with scholarships to Northern State University, Presentation College and South Dakota Mines, according to the news release from the Small Business Development Center.

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