Want to win $5,000? All you need is a good business pitch.

Opportunity Quest, an entrepreneurship and business competition offered through the U’s Lassonde Institute, is offering cash prizes for students who enter.

“The competition fosters and promotes business growth at the college and university level by giving students a chance to organize, direct and present a business idea to a panel of judges,” said Jared Turley, director of the competition.

This panel of judges is comprised of various faculty members from the U, company executives, board members and other prominent businessmen from around the Salt Lake Valley. Teams compete for a grand prize of $5,000, $3,000 for second place and $2,000 for third. The winners will be announced Feb. 5.

Applications for this year’s competition are available from Dec. 1 through Jan. 15. For round one of the competition, teams are required to submit a two-minute video detailing their businesses, giving “elevator pitches,” and showing enthusiasm while detailing their product or service as if they were addressing potential funders.

Ten finalist teams will be announced on Jan. 20 to proceed to round two. The finalists will then present their businesses to the panel of judges. Presentation time is limited to 20 minutes. Each of the top ten teams will have the opportunity to attend a mentors workshop prior to their final presentation where teams are assigned to work with a professional in the field most closely related to their service or product.

“Opportunity Quest provides teams with an educational forum to prepare them for the competition and aid them in the creation and implementation of their business plan,” Turley said.

To participate in Opportunity Quest, teams must fill out an application and submit materials, including a video submission, by Jan. 15. Teams must be led by a student at the U enrolled in at least nine credit hours. Other team members may include other students, friends, family members, faculty or professionals.

Veritas Medical, headed by Nate Rhodes, CEO and president, is a previous competition winner. His group’s product and business is based on a design for catheters with visible lights that kill bacteria, preventing infection. The company has won more than $150,000 in prize money since their Opportunity Quest bid.

“Opportunity [Quest] definitely helped launch us as a community,” Rhodes said.

Application packets for the competition are available at: lassonde.utah.edu/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/OQ-Competition-Packet-2016.pdf




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