Win $100,000 in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

Registration for the 2018-19 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is now open. The statewide business model competition is open to all university students in Utah. Teams compete for $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes, including a $40,000 grand prize. The registration deadline is Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

The competition is managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, and sponsored by Zions Bank.

“The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge encourages competitors to think critically and take a real-world approach throughout the competition,” said Dakota Rose, the student associate of marketing for the competition. The student competition chair, Parker Andriese, added, “The skills to be a successful competitor will not only enhance students’ future educational paths, but may stem into a career.”

With equity-free funding from Zions Bank, support from local businesses and an expanded professional network, the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge helps students launch their startup ideas.

Last year’s $40,000 grand prizewinner, Portal, is developing a product that assists wheelchair users in opening doors. The device is attached to an existing automatic door, and when a user who has downloaded the accompanying app comes within 5 feet of the door, it opens automatically. Other past winners have gone on to raise millions of dollars in funding and expand worldwide.

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

The top 20 teams will be selected based on their business models and announced on Feb. 27, 2019. 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 30, 2019.

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 is open now until Feb. 28, 2019.

Learn more about the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge at

2018-2019 Competition Timeline

  • Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018: Applications open for submission
  • Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019: Application submission deadline, midnight
  • Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, to Monday, Feb. 22, 2019: Online judging
  • Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019: Top 20 announced at noon
  • Friday, March 12, 2019: Top 20 video submission deadline, midnight
  • Monday, March 14, 2019: Live voting for top 20 videos begins
  • Thursday, March 28, 2019: Top 20 PowerPoint submission deadline, midnight
  • Friday, March 29, 2019: Video voting ends at midnight
  • Saturday, March 30, 2019: Final judging and showcase at the University of Utah
    • 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Pitches and judging at the Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building
    • 4 to 6 p.m.: Public showcase and awards ceremony at Lassonde Studios

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 new five-story innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at

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