Lassonde Gears Up for Another Round of the Opportunity Quest Competition


Hannah Butcher and Michael Kane, members of the KB Medical team that won last year’s Opportunity Quest. Courtesy of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.

By Claudia Robles


Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is gearing up for their annual statewide Opportunity Quest competition.

This competition, hosted by Lassonde and sponsored by Zions Bank, allows students and future entrepreneurs to put their skills to the test through a business model executive competition. These student start-ups are funded through sponsors and donors familiar with Lassonde’s mission statement. Opportunity Quest allows students to experience the hassle and work that goes into creating a business and executing it by presenting the business idea to a panel of judges and receiving feedback from them.

The judging panel is composed of lawyers, accountants, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and other successful and knowledgeable business leaders.

“Last year we had over 250 applications submitted from colleges around the state of Utah and we’re looking to increase that number with strong contestants,” said Parker Andriese, the competitions chair at Lassonde.

There will be three rounds where the top 10 teams will be narrowed down for the final round.

Round 1 will be the executive summary that will be open to all University of Utah students that meet the eligibility requirements. Those teams will then detail their business idea by creating an executive summary that will be submitted that day.

The judges will look to make sure six specific topics are covered through each executive summary presentation:

  • Company overview: the important points of the business idea (history, product, mission statement, i.e.)
  • Product or service: a description of the product or service and its stage of development
  • Market: a description of the type of market the product is geared towards and the advantages the product or service has in that market
  • Sales strategy: how the product or service will be sold while increasing profits and the ways they’ll be reaching their markets through marketing
  • Revenue model: how the business will generate revenue
  • Team: a description of who is on the team, their roles, education and experience; the detail on what the current and future needs will be for specific team members

The judges will then select the top 10 team finalists to move forward to the second round, where they will create and present a two-minute video outlined from the executive summary. The teams will be judged according to the guidelines and move on to the third round.

The third round will be a final presentation taking place at Lassonde Studios on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. The PowerPoint presentation will be given to the judges’ panel outlining the executive business model summary and video in 10 minutes. Following the presentation, there will be five minutes given to the judges to ask questions.

There will be a total of four prizes given out to help teams further their business ideas:

-The grand prize is $5,000 to the team that had the overall best presentation

-Second place earns $3,000 and goes to the runner-up

-Third place gets $1,000 and goes to the second runner-up

-a Video Prize of $1,000 goes to the team who executed the best video

Last year’s winning team was KB Medical, a startup team creating a device aiding longtime wound drain for patients post-operation. The device used properties to avoid clogging and clotting. The idea sparked through a personal experience a team member had when recovering from a painful surgery.

Hannah Butcher, graduate student and member of KB Medical shares, “Opportunity Quest has been one of my top highlights since coming back for my master’s. It is a really great platform to apply the strategies we learn in the classroom to a real business idea and get industry feedback. The experience was an exciting and great learning opportunity despite keeping me up late at night putting together the initial prospectus and pitch. However, the skills learned were invaluable and ones I continue to use frequently. This opportunity taught me that anyone can have a great idea that the industry views as valuable as long as you are willing to put in the work.”

Applications open for submission began Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. The deadline for the application submissions is Thursday, Nov. 29 at midnight.

“Take full advantage of the resources provided — jump in. By doing so, many more doors will open to further resources that can enhance your college career and entrepreneurial endeavors,” Andriese said.

In addition, Butcher advises that applicants to make their best effort. “Opportunity Quest is an opportunity to get in front of investors and industry leaders to put in the time,” she said. “Make an effort to have a polished presentation, and be prepared for the left-field questions. Those are the ones that make you shine if you have already anticipated them and can quickly respond. During the presentation, have fun. Be yourself and take confidence that if you made it this far your idea has been validated and you deserve to be there. Just enjoy the ride and realize this is an opportunity that is going to position you for success and make you better.”

For an outline of the competition timeline and in-depth criteria and eligibility for participants, visit Lassonde’s website.

[email protected]