uAir, a University of Utah student team with an innovative new inhaler that addresses the patient’s need for portability and the physician’s need for accessibility, won the $20,000 grand prize and first place in the 2021 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge today. The statewide business-model competition is managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, and sponsored by Zions Bank. The event featured the best collegiate entrepreneurs in Utah competing for $60,000 in cash and prizes.
uAir created a more compact and redesigned inhaler. uAir streamlines the design of the inhaler to be more portable with fewer puffs leading to less medical waste and more financially accessible inhalers.
“[Winning the grand prize] makes all the midnight table sessions of going through the business models and plans and PowerPoints and the practice worth it,” said Brian Parker, of uAir, who is an MD-MBA student at the University of Utah. “Being able to go forward with this company and get this product on the market allows us to help a significantly greater number of patients than we could as an individual doctor.”
Additional prizes were awarded to the team with the best video, design, presentation, technology and more. Other big winners included: Clean Seat with second place ($15,000); SpeechCloud with third place ($10,000); Speech Cloud with the Ident Solutions Technology Award ($2,500); Morr Decor with the Actium Partners Bootstrap Award ($2,000); Gaia Technologies with the Jones Waldo Intellectual Property Award ($1,500); Morr Decor, Mobile Moon Co-op, Judgement Day and Powder Soles with the Ballard Spahr and Workman Nydegger Emerging Entrepreneur Awards ($1,000 each); and BidMyCrib with the online voting Jones Waldo People’s Choice Award ($1,000).
“Despite the challenges presented this year, we have been extremely excited by each of the team’s achievements,” said Kearsa Rawson, the student chair of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. “Although we restructured the entire competition to meet the demands of COVID-19, the students were resilient and adaptable. The student entrepreneurs are hard-working, creative and have amazing business ideas.”
Over 30 judges with diverse industry expertise reviewed the submitted applications, and the top 20 competing teams impressed them with their passion, innovation and entrepreneurial grit. The top 20 teams showcased their ideas in a virtual pitch event and in an online public vote.
“The teams competing this year were super impressive. They presented great ideas with a lot of potential, and our judges had a difficult time selecting which teams would advance,” said Anne Bastien, program director at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. “The teams that advanced to the top 20 should be proud to be recognized as some of the most promising entrepreneurs in the state. We look forward to following their progress in the months and years ahead.”
Learn more about the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge at lassonde.utah.edu/uec. Learn about the high school division of this competition at lassonde.utah.edu/hsuec.
UEC Winners 2021
- Grand Prize Award, $20,000 (award sponsored by Zions Bank) – uAir
- Second place, $15,000 (Zions Bank) – CleanSeat
- Third place, $10,000 (Zions Bank) – Speech Cloud
- Technology, $2,500 (Ident Solutions) – Speech Cloud
- Bootstrap, $2,000 (Actium Partners) – Morr Décor
- Intellectual Property, $1,500 (Jones Waldo) – Gaia Technologies
- Prototype, $1,000 (Espiritu Designs) – Gaia Technologies
- People’s Choice Online Vote, $1,000 (Jones Waldo) – BidMyCrib
- Emerging Entrepreneur 1, $1,000 (Ballard Spahr) – The Mobile Moon Co-op
- Emerging Entrepreneur 2, $1,000 (Ballard Spahr) – Judgement Day
- Emerging Entrepreneur 3, $1,000 (Ballard Spahr) – Powder Soles
- Emerging Entrepreneur 4, $1,000 (Workman Nydegger) – Morr Decor
UEC Awards Announcement Video 2021
uAir Competition Video
UEC Top 20 Teams 2021
Here are the top 20 teams in the 2021 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. These teams will advance to the final judging, showcase and awards event. They are listed in alphabetical order:
- BidMyCrib (UofU): An online classifieds marketplace that helps students and young professionals sell their housing contracts.
- Clean Seat (UofU): A toilet seat that prevents messes caused by common negligence and is convenient for all users.
- Denali Energy (Weber): A company focused on providing diversified electrical services to residential and commercial areas.
- Fill Drinks (Dixie): A subscription drink service offering affordable 24/7 access to a variety of soft drinks.
- Gaia Technologies (UofU): A prosthetic hand designed to put the needs of amputees first.
- Hops and Hounds (USU): A 21-and-over indoor dog park and daycare that caters to both dogs and humans.
- Judgement Day (SLCC): A card game aiming at creating parody headlines in a world where news headlines can sometimes feel like a sick joke.
- Khalm Skincare (UofU): Khalm Skincare is a multi-beneficial natural, non-toxic, cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free luxury skincare line.
- KoBuss (UofU): A Northern Utah-based mechanical keyboard and accessories company aimed to provide education and products to the community.
- io (USU): A cloud-based video review and collaboration platform for artists in the film industry.
- The Mobile Moon Co-op (Westminster): A female and queer collective that strives to aid communities and ecosystems through education, empowerment, and botanical stewardship.
- Morr Decor (SUU): A company creating custom plastic stencils that cater to customers from all backgrounds.
- Powder Soles (USU): A community-based winter sports brand of snow enthusiasts who develop solutions for others to experience true freedom on the mountain.
- RF Rentals (UVU): A rental platform providing marine products at an affordable price for consumers.
- Skapa (BYU): A company creating products to aid ASD children to follow a consistent sleep routine.
- SkiSafe (UofU): A ski rack controlled by your smartphone that allows customers to enjoy their time without worrying about theft, or losing equipment.
- Speech Cloud (UofU): A B2B software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that helps institutions make their lessons online, engaging, and accessible for anyone, anywhere.
- StoryTeller (BYU): An up-and-coming online bookstore and social site designed to make the process of finding and buying books easier for casual book fans and diehard book lovers.
- Tango Brush (Snow): A subscription-based product including new brushes, shampoo and conditioner designed to reduce waste in bathroom products.
- uAir (UofU): An innovative new inhaler that addresses the patient’s need for portability and the physician’s need for accessibility.
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.