Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

Compete for $100,000 in the 2019-20 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

Registration for the 2019-20 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is now open. The statewide business-model competition is open to all college students in Utah. Teams compete for $100,000 in cash and prizes, including a $40,000 grand prize. The registration deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020.

The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a top 10 ranked program at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, and sponsored by Zions Bank.

“We welcome all college students to get involved and enter their idea for a chance to win prize money and gain experience as an entrepreneur,” said Kearsa Hodgson, the student chair of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. “This is a great opportunity for them to bring their ideas and inventions to the next level. We are excited to see what this season brings!”

Last year’s winner, Thrive Smart Systems, took home the $40,000 grand prize and the first-place title at the 2019 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. It developed a wireless sprinkling system that is reliable, environmentally friendly and affordable. Second place went to SHERO, which earned a prize of $10,000, and the third place went to DeGraw Custom, which earned $5,000.

The top 20 teams will be selected based on their business models and announced on Feb. 27, 2020. These teams advance to compete in the remaining phases of the competition, which include creating a two-minute video, two pitches for in-person judging and tabling during the public showcase at Lassonde Studios on the University of Utah campus on March 28, 2020.

To participate, students can visit the event website to view the online competition guide and apply. Students must submit a written business model.

“The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is a great opportunity for students from all colleges and universities across the state to test their business idea and win funding and prizes,” said Anne Bastien, the program director at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. “Win or lose, all the teams competing gain a valuable experience by developing a business model, connecting with the entrepreneurial community and seeing what it takes to launch a company.”

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute also hosts a related competition for high school students. The High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is open to all students in Utah ages 14-18. Teams are competing this year for $30,000 in cash and prizes. The application for this competition is open now until Feb. 19, 2020.

Learn more the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge at lassonde.utah.edu/uec.

2019-2020 UEC Competition Timeline

  • Application Opens: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, at noon
  • Application Deadline: Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, at midnight
  • Online Judging: Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, to Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020
  • Top 20 Announced: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, at 9 a.m.
  • Top 20 Video Submission Deadline: Friday, March 13, 2020, at 9 a.m.
  • Top 20 Video Voting Begins: Monday, March 16, 2020, at 9 a.m.
  • Top 20 Powerpoints Due: Friday, March 26, 2020, at midnight
  • Video Voting Ends: Saturday, March 27, 2020, at midnight
  • Competition Event: Saturday, March 28, 2020

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.

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