Utah’s best college entrepreneurs are competing for $100,000 in cash and prizes, including a $40,000 grand prize, in the 2017 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, one of the biggest student-business competitions in the country. Today, the competition got a lot more interesting with the top 20 teams being announced.
Hundreds of students from all colleges in the state compete in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, a business-model competition requiring teams to submit a full business plan. The competition is managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a nationally ranked division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, and sponsored by Zions Bank.
“We had a record number of teams entering the competition this year, and we are looking forward to seeing who wins the grand prize,” said Jaron Hall, the student director of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge and a business student at the University of Utah. “This is the biggest business-plan competition in the state, and we invite everyone to get involved by voting for their favorite teams in our video voting contest or attending our final showcase and awards ceremony.”
The top teams are competing with ideas ranging from a peer-to-peer solution for storage and an app for finding casual events to an innovative baby monitor and fanny packs to keep your food cool. (Find a complete list of the finalists with descriptions of their ideas below.)
The next step will be online video voting, which is open to the public from March 28 at 8 a.m. until April 14 at 5 p.m. Vote online here: lassonde.utah.edu/uec/vote2017/. The top teams also advance to the final event, where they will meet for the last judging round and a public showcase and awards ceremony on April 15 at Lassonde Studios at the University of Utah. All are invited to the public showcase and awards ceremony from 4 to 6 p.m.
“We are always impressed by the quality of ideas we see in this competition, and I think we have one of our best groups of finalists ever,” said Troy D’Ambrosio, the executive director at the Lassonde Institute and an assistant dean at the David Eccles School of Business. “Last year, we had a medical device company win with a new way to insert breathing tubes. It will be interesting to see who wins this year.”
The top 20 startups in the 2017 competition come from colleges including: Brigham Young University (4 startups in the top 20), Dixie State University (1), Salt Lake Community College (1), Snow College (1), Southern Utah University (1), University of Utah (8), Utah State University (2), Utah Valley University (1), Weber State University (1) and Westminster College (1). One of the startups has students from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University.
Student startups advanced to the top 20 in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge by either winning a qualifying event at their individual colleges in the Opportunity Quest competition series or by entering the open round that was judged by professionals across the state through an online process.
Learn more about the competition at lassonde.utah.edu/uec.
Utah Entrepreneur Challenge Season Timeline
- Monday, Nov. 28, 2016: Submissions open
- Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017: Application submission deadline
- Thursday to Wednesday, Feb. 23 to March 1, 2017: Online judging
- Friday, March 3, 2017: Top 20 announced
- Friday, March 24, 2017: Top 20 videos due
- Tuesday, March 28, 2017: Public online video voting begins at 8 a.m. at utah.edu/uec/vote2017/
- Thursday, April 13, 2017: PowerPoint presentations submitted by 11:59 p.m.
- Friday, April 14, 2017: Top 20 dinner at 6 p.m. at Zions Bank
- Friday, April 14, 2017: Public online video voting concludes at 5 p.m. at utah.edu/uec/vote2017/
- Saturday, April 15, 2017: Private judging and mentoring at the Spencer Fox Eccles Business building from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Public showcase and awards ceremony at the Lassonde Studios from 4-6 p.m.
Utah Entrepreneur Challenge Top 20 Teams
Here are the top 20 teams in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. These teams will advance to the final showcase and awards event. They are listed in alphabetical order:
- Breathe Easy Mat (BYU) – A thin pad that delivers oxygen to infants at night
- Cedar Sports (SUU) – Provides Cedar City and surrounding areas with high quality new and used outdoor recreational equipment
- Course Credit (USU) – Offers affordable online courses to non-traditional students who then transfer the credits they earn to online universities and community colleges
- Coverall Homecare (Westminster) – A subscription-based monthly home maintenance service
- Dentium Club (BYU) – Dental-grade whitening delivered to your door for a few bucks a month
- EM. J Medical (UofU) – Creating a simple, mechanically driven medical device that will be applied to laparoscope lenses and restore the vision field of the operating team while the device is still in the patient
- Gingerbracket Company (Weber) – A mess-free product that makes snapping gingerbread houses together easier
- Hashtaggy (UofU) – Provides a new and innovative way for students to find fun stuff to do with their friends
- LIT Outdoors (UofU) – An outdoor company that focuses on the emerging opportunities in the outdoor recreation industry
- Lunchmoney (Snow College) – A fanny pack company that will design and sell multiple lines of hip and cool packs for people of all ages
- Neiybor (UofU & BYU) – A peer-to-peer marketplace for storage (neiybor.com)
- OverPowered Training (USU) – A junior sports league for the players of League of Legends
- PerkNow (UVU) – Streamlines the acquisition, implementation, promotion and distribution of convenient on-site services and desirable company perks
- Pleth Patch (UofU) – A low-cost, portable, wireless vital sign monitoring system for low and middle-income countries. This device will provide clinicians in developing nations increase the standard of care at a very low cost.
- Portal Power (UofU) – Portal Cord creates a simplistic portable charger
- Rubi Life (BYU) – A maternity band-like wearable fetal monitor that can provide expectant mothers with real-time data to their smart phones about their baby’s kick count, heart rate and fetal position
- Savor Life Co (SLCC) – A food truck that meets the needs of vegan diners who want to “savor life” by enjoying the food truck experience
- Sunshine Sync (UofU) – App improving transfers of value between medical salespeople and physicians
- Tenant Joy (Dixie) – A web app that helps with onboarding each student, making payment transactions easy and will also contain many more features
- XLynk Surgical (UofU) – A faster more effective postoperative adhesion barrier
About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute
The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus of the Eccles School and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include workshops, networking events, business-plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, graduate seminars, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute also manages the Lassonde Studios, a new $45 million innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at lassonde.utah.edu.