‘Concept to Company’ contest offers $58,000 for innovators, inventors

SOUTHERN UTAH — Entrepreneurs with new products or existing businesses who believe they have the next big thing are being sought for the upcoming 2015 Concept to Company contest, with cash prizes totaling $25,500 and services worth $32,500. Applications are being accepted through Nov. 25.

“The category is very broad this year,” said Joshua Aikens of Dixie Technical Association, or Dixie Techs. “It can include any type of innovation or startup business. Our focus is on companies that solve consumer needs and business problems and those that can ultimately market to customers outside the region.”

Southern Utah economic development organizers, entrepreneurs and local investors want to identify and encourage entrepreneurs who can bring value-added growth to the area.

There is no cost to apply. Applications will be received from throughout the state, with Iron, Washington, Kane, Garfield and Beaver counties receiving special preference. Registration and complete contest rules are available online.

The competition focuses on general business startup concepts, including tech and nontech concepts.

Types of innovations or products can include tools, devices, inventions, software solutions, medical technology, mobile apps and a variety of other products. Existing companies with new products, as well as startups, may enter the contest if their product idea has been in the market for less than one year.

“Dixie State University is thrilled to co-sponsor the 2015 St. George Concept 2 Company startup contest and to host the final pitch session and judging on our campus” said Kyle Wells, dean of the DSU School of Business. “We are eager to see the outstanding startup and innovation projects that are submitted by entrepreneurs from throughout Utah. This C2C competition will enhance the growing culture of entrepreneurship within our regional business community and on our campus.”

Although it is not required, staff from USTAR and the St. George and Cedar City branches of the Utah Small Business Development Center Network will be available by appointment to review entries prior to submission.

“Our goal is to support Southern Utah’s entrepreneurs in turning their concepts into viable entities,” said Shirlayne Quayle, director of USTAR South. “Contests like these provide an exciting platform to showcase new ideas and products while the networking opportunity is an invaluable added prize that every participant walks away with.”

The 2015 contest prizes include:

  • Grand prize winner — $23,500 total package: $10,000 cash, $13,500 in-kind services
  • Two runners-up — $12,000 (each) total package: $5,000 cash, $7,000 in-kind services
  • All contest finalists will be eligible for screening by the Dixie State University Foundation’s Investment
  • Committee for potential follow-on investment of up to $100,000

In-kind services include legal counseling from Durham, Jones & Pinegar Law; accounting services from Savage, Esplin & Radmall, CPAs; web development from Velocity Webworks; digital marketing services from Voxxy; technology services from Watchman technologies; marketing communications from RUKKUS Communication; and mentoring from experienced local entrepreneurs and investors.

Finalists of the 2015 contest may be eligible to pitch their business concept for up to $100,000 of additional investment from Dixie State University Foundation’s Investment Committee.

Final awards will be presented Dec. 11 at a public awards ceremony at Dixie State University.

About the contest

The Concept to Company contests are organized by Grow Utah, a nonprofit whose mission is to expand economic development through entrepreneurship in Utah. To date, Grow Utah and its major backers of Zions Bank, Arches Healthcare, Durham, Jones & Pinegar Law and Mountain West Small Business Finance have held 26 contests throughout Utah and distributed over $1.2 million in cash and services to winning entrepreneurs.


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