More than 240 students from universities across the state participated in four new Innovation Tournaments at the University of Utah this fall. Students joined teams to pitch ideas and voted on what ideas should get the $2,500 in cash prizes. The events were hosted by the Utah Entrepreneur Series, a student-run division of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, and sponsored by Stoel Rives.
Teams pitched more than 70 ideas in the tournaments. Six teams from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University won all the cash prizes with ideas ranging from child-tracking devices to medication-tracking systems (see listing below).
“We have had so many great ideas presented at these events,” said Ryan Snow, student director of the tournaments. “It’s exciting to see ideas with huge potential coming from students all over the state.”
The tournaments received positive feedback for their interactive platform. Participants pitched their idea then fielded questions from the audience and judges. Live-audience voting determined the finalists, and judges determined the winner.
“It was really fun to tell a large group about my idea,” said Devan Baucom, a student who participated in two of the tournaments. “I got a lot of good questions and feedback about my idea. Talking with all of the other participants afterwards was really fun, too. I got great feedback for my idea that will help me get ready for Opportunity Quest (the second competition in the Utah Entrepreneur Series).”
The Innovation Tournaments are designed as an introduction to resources available from the Utah Entrepreneur Series and the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.
“These events are focused on being a fun way for students to explore entrepreneurship and develop ideas,” said Dane Money, a student co-chair of the Utah Entrepreneur Series. “By participating in these events students can learn a lot about an idea and take it to the next level by participating in Opportunity Quest.
“We love the role the Innovation Tournaments have in the process of turning an idea into business,” said Nick Beynon, the other co-chair. “At the beginning of the year, a student could have a simple idea for the Innovation Tournaments, and by the end of the year, they can develop that idea into a full-on business plan and win $40,000. It’s awesome!”
Learn more at www.ues.utah.edu.
Fall 2014 Innovation Tournament Winners
- Color Cube (U of U, $200) – Board games, built with durable mouse pad material, that use logic and luck to bring gamers of all ages together.
- Kiband (BYU, $500) – Child-tracking wearable technology that links to your smartphone so you can keep tabs on your kids in public.
- My Reaserch Project (U of U, $500) – Web-based application that helps present analytical data in easy-to-understand charts and presentations.
- Safety Outlet (U of U, $500) – Self-monitoring electrical outlet that automatically shuts off when overheating to prevent electrical fires.
- Sense Med (U of U, $300) – Weight-based medication tray that links to your smartphone and alerts you when you forget to take your medications.
- Sleep Guardian (U of U, $500) – Wi-Fi-based, sleep-tracking device that works through walls to track the sleep health of your family.