Startup State Entrepreneur Challenge

The Utah Innovation Center and Economic Opportunity office’s Startup State Initiative presents the governor’s annual statewide Startup State Entrepreneur Challenge.

Gov. Cox and Lt. Gov. Henderson will help find (and fund) Utah's next top entrepreneurs at this year’s Startup State Entrepreneur Challenge.

Join us at the One Utah Summit opening reception on April 11 and watch the finalists pitch their companies Shark Tank-style.

The entrepreneur challenge includes pitches, Q&A with judges, and voting for the 2024 people’s choice winner. Come enjoy hor d'oeuvres and network with other summit attendees at the Entrepreneur Challenge networking reception with food from Utah's Own companies.

Calling All 2023 Pitch Winners — How to Apply

All 2023 Utah pitch competition winners, top finalists, and people’s choice awardees may apply to compete at Gov. Cox’s Startup State Entrepreneur Challenge.

The entrepreneur challenge applications are open now and close at 11:59 p.m. on March 1. Companies must be Utah-based and have won or placed in a 2023 pitch competition in Utah.

The Utah Innovation Center will convene a panel to score entrepreneur challenge applications and select semi-finalists, who then undergo a selection process to identify the top candidates. The top finalists will present at the Startup State Entrepreneur Challenge at the One Utah Summit on April 11.

Judges, including Gov. Cox and Lt. Gov. Henderson, will rank the finalists, and summit attendees will choose a people’s choice winner. In 2023, 10 Entrepreneur Challenge finalists and semi-finalists received $80,000 in cash prizes. We anticipate a similar total prize package this year.

Please reach out to innovationutah@utah.gov with any questions.

The entrepreneur challenge scoring rubric and rules are available here.

Cash & In-Kind Awards

The competition includes $100k in cash and in-kind prizes. Thanks to support from the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, Startup State Entrepreneur Challenge finalists will receive $15k in University of Utah Master of Business Creation (MBC) scholarships.

About the MBC

The Master of Business Creation is a professional-degree program for serious entrepreneurs committed to growing their startup company. The program features innovative, application-focused curriculum and access to mentoring, grants, and scholarships. The program is offered at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business by the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy in partnership with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. Together, they provide an entrepreneur program ranked among the top 10 in the nation.

Judges

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Governor
State of Utah

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Lieutenant Governor
State of Utah

Become a sponsor?
We’re seeking entrepreneur challenge partners to provide cash for this year’s semi-finalists. Please check out the sponsor kit on our sponsors’ webpage to learn more.