Acti-Vest, a team from Juan Diego Catholic High School, won first place and the $10,000 grand prize at the 2021 High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge (HSUEC) final event today. Acti-Vest presented an idea for a vest that uses ultrasonic sensors to calculate the distance between obstacles and a visually impaired wearer to warn them of nearing objects.
“[The win] means a lot, because it tells me that I can go on to support people with disabilities and help people live the lifestyle they want to live,” said Erin Chan, of Acti-Vest. “I plan on expanding this company and using the money to further develop the vest to make it a better product.”
The final event for this business-idea competition was held virtually and featured a cohort of 20 high school teams, selected out of over 130 initial applications. Teams competed for $25,000 in cash and scholarships. The competition is hosted by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, and sponsored by Zions Bank.
Each high school team faced the challenge of identifying a problem and proposing a creative solution. The teams submitted ideas ranging from innovative mobile apps to disruptive contributions to the food industry. See the list below for details and a description of the top 20 teams.
“We had a phenomenal set of finalists this year,” said Peyton Williams, student director of the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. “I’m proud that Utah is home to so many impressive and entrepreneurial high school students. Every team that presented today has great potential.”
Other winners included: Pocket Garden, of Hillcrest High School, with second place ($5,000); Eggshell Remover, of Springville High School, with third place ($2,500); and Ringo Leveling the Testing Field, of West High School, with the most votes in the public online voting ($500). Additionally, several students were awarded a position with the Lassonde Founders program, which includes a $1,000 housing scholarship for students to live and launch together at Lassonde Studios.
The High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is the youth version of the collegiate Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, which offered $60,000 in cash and prizes this year.
Learn more about the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge at lassonde.utah.edu/hsuec.
HSUEC Winners 2021
- First Place, $10,000 – Acti-Vest
- Second Place, $5,000 – Pocket Garden
- Third Place, $2,500 – Eggshell Remover
- Top Online Vote Award, $500 – Ringo Leveling the Testing Field
- Lassonde Founders Program Scholarship Recipients, $1,000 Each – Ava Coccaro, Genevieve Hohaia, Gianna Hohaia, Jennifer Ong, Katherine Sexton, Lily Miller, Maíra Howcroft, William Jesperson
HSUEC Awards Announcement Video 2021
HSUEC Top 20 Teams 2021
Here are the top 20 teams for the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge listed in alphabetical order. These teams will advance to the final judging event:
- Acti-Vest (Juan Diego Catholic High School) – A vest that uses ultrasonic sensors to calculate the distance between obstacles and a visually impaired wearer to warn them of nearing objects.
- Alteration Annie’s (West High School) – A solution to the massive waste the fashion industry produces each year: reclaim thrown out materials and redesign them into functional products.
- Bayern Auto (American Fork High School) – A device that implements a schedule into your car to correspond heating, cooling, and defrost functions beforehand, thus reducing potential driver hazards.
- Branch Bomb (Woods Cross High School) – A cheap and easily transported medium to not only contain widespread forest fires, but to extinguish them as well.
- Busy Bee Box (Woods Cross High School) – Busy Bee Box is a virtual opportunity for busy working parents’ children to have projects that they can do safely from their homes.
- ConnecTeen (Waterford School) – Connects high schoolers with an array of job opportunities catered to their specific interests and skills using an aptitude assessment.
- Eggshell Remover (Springville High School) – A tweezer-like device that can easily grasp and pick up eggshell pieces without getting a person’s hands dirty.
- Floura (Taylorsville High School) – A manageable way to keep track of all an individual’s facets of health in a consolidated platform.
- FoodFinds (Park City High School) – Helps you get in and out of the grocery store in record time by planning your route to avoid aimlessly wandering around the store.
- Ivy Health (American Fork High School) – A smart water bottle that allows the user to accurately track fluid intake daily to reduce command dehydration problems.
- Jesperson Inc. (American Fork High School) – A hat that uses sonar to assist the visually-impaired. Instead of using a cane, visually-impaired individuals can use the hat, which beeps to alert the user of nearby obstacles.
- Lazorback (Blue Peak High School) – A wearable device designed to help users avoid slouching. Unlike back braces, which may weaken back muscles, Lazorback focuses on strengthening back muscles.
- Lending Lions (Rowland Hall-St. Mark’s) – Uses an app and website to simplify the process of donating food to charities (especially for students).
- LitFit (West High School) – An app that allows users to try on clothing virtually through the use of LiDAR technology.
- Mighty Mist (Academy for Math, Engineering and Science) – Inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mighty Mist is a cost-effective, portable way to clean the air.
- Pocket Garden (Hillcrest High School) – Tailored to novice gardeners, Pocket Garden simplifies plant purchases, connects customers with local nurseries, and motivates plant care.
- Polaris Printing (Park City High School) – Metal 3D printing at an affordable cost, targeted to hobbyists and small businesses.
- Ringo Leveling the Testing Field (West High School) – A non-profit organization that helps low-income students access the resources essential for success on ACT, SAT, and AP exams.
- The Orca (West Jordan High School) – An inexpensive prosthetic that mimics the position of a natural fishing cast, enabling amputees to go fishing.
- Voltage Electric Kart Systems (Park City High School) – An electric system for go-karts that makes the sport more environmentally-friendly.
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 Lassonde Studios, a five-story innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at lassonde.utah.edu.