Utah’s best high school entrepreneurs won $22,000 in prizes at the inaugural 2016 High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge (HSUEC) Final Awards and Showcase event today at the University of Utah. Sixty eight teams entered the competition. The top-16 teams advanced to the final event with business ideas ranging from surgical tools to fashion consulting.
The competition is managed by students at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute – an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business at the U – to promote youth entrepreneurship and innovation across the state. The program is open to all students ages 14-18. Sponsors included Zions Bank.
Watch video of final event here.
“We’re very excited to bring this competition to Utah,” said Mark Rasmussen, student chair of the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. “We were very impressed with the incredible ideas presented by the teams. Many of these students will become our next entrepreneurs, inventors and business leaders.”
Two teams won Grand Prize awards and $5,000 each: EcoGo and Electro-Surgical Pouch.
EcoGo, of Salt Lake City, is developing an app to reduce the number of vehicles on Utah roads. Electro-Surgical Pouch consists of students from the Jordan Academy for Technology and Careers and Bingham High School in South Jordan. They are developing a laparoscopic surgical tool to both dissect the gallbladder off the liver bed and remove it from the abdomen at the same time.
“I was surprised so many teams entered the competition,” said Ryan Scott, a member of Electro-Surgical Pouch and a senior at Bingham High School. “I think it’s awesome so many people are starting companies at a young age. It shows we are working hard to get ahead as a generation.”
The winner of the People’s Choice award and $1,000 was Breathe Easy. The team secured the most votes from spectators at the event. The team is from Academy of Math, Engineering and Science in Salt Lake City and won with a stylish mask for filtering air pollution.
“Many people say that teenagers don’t get it or understand,” said Sahar Kanishka, one of two sophomores behind Breathe Easy. “The award shows that we do understand, and we are here to make a difference.”
Zions Bank sponsored the competition and most of the awards, which included cash prizes and bank assistance for every one of the top-16 teams.
“This was an amazing first year of what we hope becomes an annual contest,” said Mike Winder, director of entrepreneurship programs for Zions Bank. “We were so pleased to see student innovators from seven counties represented among the finalists.”
Among the other prizes were ten $1,000 scholarships to live at Lassonde Studios, a new residential, entrepreneurial and maker facility for students at the U. The building will open on Aug. 18, when 400 students will start living here. All students at the U are welcome to live at Lassonde Studios or to use the first floor to attend events, build prototypes and launch companies.
“Entrepreneurship is thriving in Utah at every age, and this competition is evidence of that,” said Kathy Hajeb, a director at the Lassonde Institute. “We can’t wait to see what these students do with their prize money to get their ideas to the next level. We also look forward to them joining us in the future us as students at the University of Utah and residents at Lassonde Studios.”
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HSUEC Award Winners
- Grand Prize (1 of 2), $5,000 (Zions Bank) – Electro-Surgical Pouch.
- Grand Prize (1 of 2), $5,000 (Zions Bank) – EcoGo.
- People’s Choice Award, $1,000 (Zions Bank) – Breathe Easy.
- Lassonde Studios Scholarships, $1,000 each (Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute) – Breath Easy (2), EcoGo (1), Energy-Generating Stationary Bike (2), Microcade Systems (2), Motor Design (1), Service with a Click! (1), Teen Made (1).
- Finalist Award, $100 each (Zions Bank) – All teams won.
- Intellectual Property Protection Package (Snell & Wilmer) – Energy-Generating Stationary Bike.
- Zions Elite Entrepreneur Package (Zions Bank) – All teams won.
HSUEC Top-16 Team Descriptions
- BackPal (Layton) – A backpack insert that helps students keep their backpacks organized to hold more books and more easily find their school supplies.
- Breathe Easy (Academy of Math, Engineering and Science, Salt Lake City) – Will provide masks that are stylish and crafted to filter air pollution.
- EcoGo (Salt Lake City) – An app with a simple goal: reduce the number of personal vehicles on Utah roads.
- Electro-Surgical Pouch (Jordan Academy for Tech. and Careers & Bingham High School, South Jordan) – An innovative surgical instrument for use in a laparoscopic cholecystectomy to both dissect the gallbladder off the liver bed and remove the gallbladder from the abdomen.
- Energy-Generating Stationary Bike (West Jordan) –By adding generators to stationary bikes consumers will be able to generate electricity while exercising.
- iCityCenter (Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy, Lindon) – An app that will help reduce recycling costs and help inform consumers how they can recycle.
- Life Band (Hillcrest High School, Midvale) – A sensor-equipped exercise headband allowing users to track their movement with GPS, listen to music, and even track for concussions and alert emergency services if necessary.
- LIT Signs (Venture High School, Marriott-Slaterville) – Portable, programmable, event traffic signs that can provide specific communication to direct movement flow and give instructions.
- Microcade Systems (Park City High School) – A full plug-and-play arcade system supporting multiple consoles and small enough to fit anywhere unlike a full-sized arcade cabinet.
- Modular Magnetic Cables (Judge Memorial Catholic High School, Salt Lake City) – Eliminate cable waste and minimize the volume of cables you own by using magnetic cables with interchangeable “bits.” Cables would come in many different sizes and be chainable so you can have cables in the size you actually need.
- Motor Design (Itineris Early College High School, West Jordan) – An innovative new design for an electric motor designed to reduce friction and increase efficiency of electric motors.
- Invasive Mussel Management System (Park City High School) – A system to scan a unique code on each boat at a boat check to see where boats have been and to clarify whether or not a boat must be cleaned.
- PhoneCheck (Orem) – Will offer full mobile checkout. By scanning items and paying via the app, there will be no need to go to a cash register.
- Service in a Click! (Bingham High School, South Jordan) – Will help students find volunteering opportunities through an easy app interface and website aimed to reduce the amount of time searching for volunteering opportunities.
- Strut Clothing Referral (Canyon View High School, Cedar City) – Will match women to stores in their area and online that carry clothing that will complement their body shape.
- Teen Made (St. George) – Aims to be the hub for teens to get their start in the business world and the place for the world to invest in teens — from shops to project, from teen-to-teen course to live Q&As.
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 and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides engagement opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include graduate seminars, business plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute is also constructing Lassonde Studios, a new $45 million housing and creating facility for all students opening in fall 2016. Learn more at lassonde.utah.edu.