Win $40,000 for Your Business Idea in the 2018 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

The application is now open for the 2018 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. Every year, this event provides college students the opportunity to compete for a $40,000 grand prize and more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. All college students in Utah are welcome to participate in this business-model competition. The registration deadline is Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, at noon.

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.

“Competing in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge for the past two years has helped me develop the skills and raise the capital to launch my businesses,” said Brody King, the chair of the event this year, an entrepreneur and a bioengineering student at the U. “I’m excited to use my perspective as a former competitor to make the 2018 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge the best one yet.”

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-prize winner, Rubi Life, developed a wearable fetal baby monitor and is currently working to secure additional funding from Kickstarter and venture capitalists across the country. Other past winners have gone on to raise millions of dollars in funding, expand throughout the world and achieve success.

To participate, students can visit the event website to download the competition packet and access the online application. Students must submit a 3-page executive summary for their business.

The top 20 teams will be selected based on their executive summaries and announced on Feb. 28, 2018. These teams advance to compete in the remaining phases of the competition, which include creating a 2-minute video, two pitches for live judging and tabling during the public showcase at Lassonde Studios on the U campus on April 7, 2018.

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 $20,000 in cash and prizes. The application is open now until March 15, 2018.

Learn more about the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge here: lassonde.utah.edu/uec.

Download photos of last year’s competition here, and last year’s competition rankings here.

2017-2018 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge Timeline

  • Applications opens — Friday, Nov. 24, 2017
  • Application deadline — Thursday, Feb.15, 2018, noon
  • Online judging — Friday, Feb. 16 – Monday, Feb. 26, 2018
  • Top 20 announced — Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, noon
  • Top 20 video submission deadline — Monday, March 26, 2018, noon
  • Public video voting — Wednesday, March 28- Saturday, April 7, 2018
  • Top 20 PowerPoint submissions deadline — Friday, April 6, 2018, noon
  • Final Judging & Showcase — Saturday, April 7, 2018
    • Live Pitches and Judging: 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
    • Public Showcase and Awards Ceremony at Lassonde Studios: 4-6 p.m.

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 lassonde.utah.edu.

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