Pocket Change, a team from Murray High School, won the $1,000 People’s Choice Award in the 2020 High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge (HSUEC), a statewide competition managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. Pocket Change won with 969 out of 3,757 total votes.
Pocket Change is an app that enables students to investigate educational and career options, acquire professional skills, and enter the workforce with confidence in their selected career, and a little Pocket Change. Their platform connects students with short-term, real-world internships in a gig-economy style marketplace.
In an interview with the team leader, Liberty McBride, she said, “I’m a student, and I play multiple sports. I wanted to make money while in school, but it’s so hard with school and sports every day. So, I wanted to make a way for students to make money and still do everything else they wanted to do.”
She added, for her next steps, “I want to make it a real thing. I’ve talked to a lot of people at my school who said, ‘That’s a great idea, that would help me a lot.’ So, I want to make it a real thing that people can use.”
This year, students from over 40 high schools submitted more than 350 applications for the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. Judges had a difficult time selecting the top 20 applications. These 20 competitors impressed them with their passion, ingenuity, vision, and drive. While the full competition was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the top 20 teams were able to showcase their ideas online and allow the public to vote on their favorite teams.
“The teams this year all had incredible, unique, and creative ideas,” said Sam Hirsch, the student director of the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. “Thank you all for your participation this year and patience. I’m excited to see what these teams will accomplish in the coming years.”
The second-place team in the People’s Choice competition was SomnaSuo from Weber High School. They had an idea to provide a lightweight, warm sleeping bag for outdoor adventurers and the homeless population. The third-place team was Optimized Lawn Care, which wants to build a system to intelligently monitor your lawn care and create an optimized sprinkler cycle that uses less water and saves money.
Other finalist teams in the competition had a wide variety of ideas, from smart life-management and cooking apps to sustainable clothing and food preparation innovations. Find descriptions for all of the finalist teams below.
“We are always impressed with the variety of teams and the quality of ideas in the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge,” said Anne Bastien, program director for the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. “Some of these team will continue working on their ideas to create companies. Others will take the lessons they have learned and apply it to their education and careers. Either way, everyone wins.”
Learn more about High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge at lassonde.utah.edu/hsuec.
Top People’s Choice Presentations
2020 People’s Choice Voting Results
- Pocket Change (Murray High School) 25.79% (969 votes)
- SomnaSuo (Weber High School) 24.78% (931 votes)
- Optimized Lawn Care (Skyline High School) 8.06% (303 votes)
- Skibaxx (Park City High School) 6.07% (228 votes)
- Fillabelli (Capstone Classical Academy) 5.22% (196 votes)
- TagTeam (Herriman High School) 5.11% (192 votes)
- Jesperson Inc. (American Fork High School) 4.5% (169 votes)
- SubscriptionMinder (Park City High School) 3.75% (141 votes)
- Pocket Gardens (Hillcrest High School) 3.59% (135 votes)
- Zip Away (Park City High School) 2.95% (111 votes)
- Smart Buddy (West High School) 1.92% (72 votes)
- AP Ready (Timpview High School) 1.89% (71 votes)
- Alteration Annie’s (West High School) 1.84% (69 votes)
- Aurora Discovery (Ridgeline High School) 1.38% (52 votes)
- Hoshi (Spanish Fork High School) 0.72% (27 votes)
- The Circle of Life (Academy for Math Engineering & Science) 0.69% (26 votes)
- EcoFashion (Academy for Math Engineering & Science) 0.56% (21 votes)
- Unlabel (Logan High School) 0.43% (16 votes)
- Epicure (Waterford School) 0.37% (14 votes)
- Proxy (Skyridge High School) 0.37% (14 votes)
Total Votes: 3,757
High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge 2020 Top 20 Teams
Here are the top 20 teams for the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge in alphabetical order. These teams will advance to the final event and showcase:
- Alteration Annie’s (West High School) – Diverts waste and cuts down on emissions and pollutants from the textile industry by designing and sewing products from discarded goods and repairing broken clothing and gear.
- Aurora Discovery (Ridgeline High School) – Aims to revolutionize the classroom with virtual-reality technology that allows students to travel the world and learn about different cultures and times.
- EcoFashion (Academy for Math Engineering & Science) – Aims to recycle and reuse all discarded fabrics by placing bins in high-traffic areas, locally refurbishing goods to be sold again, and recycling unsalvageable textiles to cloths and rags.
- Epicure (Waterford School) – A free meal app that crafts a healthy meal plan for the week, gives you exclusive discounts at partner grocery stores, and gives you easy recipes for healthy, delicious, affordable meals.
- Fillabelli (Capstone Classical Academy) – An instant-ramen company dedicated to making healthy, delicious meals, and cutting down on world hunger.
- Hoshi (Spanish Fork High School) – An app that suggests meal plans based on your health profile and goals, helps you to find recipes, learn new cooking skills, and share your recipes and meals with friends.
- Jesperson Inc. (American Fork High School) – Allows visually impaired people to navigate the world freely, without a guide dog or cane. Their device uses sonar to translate the distance of an object to audio feedback for the user.
- Optimized Lawn Care (Skyline High School) – Helps you to easily maintain your lawn while using less water and spending less money by actively measuring lawn soil and automatically creating an optimized sprinkler schedule.
- Pocket Change (Murray High School) – An app that enables students to investigate educational and career options, acquire professional skills, and enter the workforce with confidence in their selected career, and a little Pocket Change.
- Pocket Gardens (Hillcrest High School) – Aims to break down the barriers to starting your first garden with an app helping you pick the best plants for your climate, facilitating purchases with local nurseries, and helping you to care for your crop.
- Proxy (Skyridge High School) – Gives you more time in your day by allowing you to eliminate daily chores by connecting you with “Proxy workers” who you can hire to do anything from cooking to babysitting to shopping for groceries.
- Saola Co. (Park City High School) – A web plug-in that gives online consumers the information they need to participate in sustainable consumerism to make an impact that lasts.
- Skibaxx (Park City High School) – Provides a novel way to transport skis to make skiing easier, more accessible, and faster. With Skibaxx, you can strap your skis right to your back to distribute their weight and keep you balanced.
- Smart Buddy (West High School) – An app that encourages users to stay off their phones and spend quality time with friends in real life, maintain healthy relationships, give back to the community, and develop experiences of a lifetime.
- SomnaSuo (Weber High School) – Gives outdoor adventurers a compact, comfortable, and warm sleeping bag while helping to provide beds to refugees, the homeless, and those hit by natural disasters.
- SubscriptionMinder (Park City High School) – Actively monitors your subscription services to make sure that you’re always getting the most out of the services you pay for every day by comparing your service usage statistics with the cost and suggesting potential changes.
- TagTeam (Herriman High School) – A group messaging app that is designed specifically with educators and students in mind and intuitively manages the needs of school and extracurricular clubs, organizations, and activities.
- The Circle of Life (Academy for Math Engineering & Science) – Working to make burial services more sustainable by substituting the long-lasting and polluting coffin with a biodegradable burial container and using a tree as a burial marker.
- Unlabel (Logan High School) – A mobile app for refugee and immigrant youths that builds intercultural friendships, helps English-as-a-second-language students cross the language barrier, and allows individuals to share their stories to promote understanding.
- Zip Away (Park City High School) – A specialized zipper that contains a pocket and allows clothing manufacturers to be able to implement storage discretely and effectively to clothing of all types.
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.