If you’re a high school student with a product or business idea, your lucky day could be coming soon.
The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah just opened a new high school idea competition, the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge (HS UEC). All students throughout Utah, ages 14-18, are welcome to compete for a chance to win $22,000 in cash and scholarships. The competition is sponsored by Zions Bank.
“Students will not only gain valuable skills and entrepreneurial experiences to help them launch a new idea, but will also have a experiential-learning advantage when applying to and attending college,” said Mark Rasmussen, student chair of HS UEC who helps manage the program with a scholarship from the Lassonde Institute.
HS UEC is designed to be a fun way for high school students to explore innovation and entrepreneurship. The competition focuses on problem-solving and the first step in developing a business idea.
Students who already have a product or business idea are encouraged to compete, but this competition is not just for them. High school students across the state are challenged to think of a solution to any problem they may see globally, locally or individually, and then propose the solution in the form of a business idea. Students are encouraged to be as creative as possible.
“This is a practical-learning opportunity and fun way to explore business,” said Kathy Hajeb, a director at the Lassonde Institute who is working with U students to manage the program. “We want students to present ideas that fix problems they see around them.”
To participate, students form teams, develop an innovative idea and submit a presentation online to be judged for the first round. Sixteen finalist teams will be announced on April 15. Those teams will be invited to the final HS UEC event for presentations and judging. This event will include a tabling pitch event, presentations and awards.
“Utah is known for its entrepreneurial spirit, and we believe some of the best ideas come from teens across the state,” Hajeb said.
HS UEC is the high school counterpart to the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, which is also managed by the Lassonde Institute and one of the largest collegiate business plan competitions in the country.
The new program is part of the continued growth of programs and opportunities provided by the Lassonde Institute to support student entrepreneurs. Other developments include a one-of-a-kind living and learning facility called Lassonde Studios. The $45 million facility opens this fall. All incoming and current U students are encouraged to apply now to live there. High school students can also participate in InnovationWeek, an annual summer camp.
Learn more about the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge at lassonde.utah.edu/hsuec.
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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 and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides engagement opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include graduate seminars, business plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute is also constructing Lassonde Studios, a new $45 million housing and creating facility for all students opening in fall 2016. Learn more at lassonde.utah.edu.