Southern Utah University held its annual Opportunity Quest competition on Feb. 8. The event is part of the statewide Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, a business model competition for any university students with business ideas.
SUU students pitched their businesses in front of multiple panels of judges. The highest scorers receive one of the cash prizes, made possible by a generous donation from Zions Bank and the Kahlert Foundation, to further their business venture.
Pitches included a networking platform, consulting agencies, wedding services, video production, furniture companies, nutritional programs and more.
In the end, seven students received large cash prizes. Any student who could show that their business had made $200 in the past three months also automatically were awarded $200 from the Kahlert Foundation to support their entrepreneurship.
The Matthew Matheson and Shadrac Reyes partnership won the first place prize of $1500. Their idea, Crypto Whales, is a card game Reyes described as “Monopoly and Cover Your Assets on steroids.” The idea is to help people understand cryptocurrency through a card game.
“We’ve only had this idea for a month,” Reyes said. “It’s been like our third job trying to get everything together to enter this competition. The money will help with manufacturing costs so we can really start getting the games printed.”
Tyler Stillman, director of the Entrepreneurship Center, helped plan and execute the event.
“A record number of SUU students competed this year and the pitches were some of the best we’ve ever seen,” Stillman said. “Students who received funding ranged from those with solid business concepts to those with thriving businesses.”
Three people received a $1000 prize for taking second place: Isaiah Tate, the business owner of Valhalla, a studio that uses light therapy to reduce pain and inflammation; Meghan Bury, who hopes to use the money to launch her memorial video production company, TimeCapsul; and Victoria Fawcett, creator of an outdoor dance camp for youth.
Cameron Dougherty, the founder of the eco-friendly lawn service Eco Lawn, won the third place prize of $750. Harrison Alvey also won third place for his idea of Shair Log, an easy networking app.
In total, 30 teams competed, giving students the chance to share their ideas with peers and business professionals.
For more information about Entrepreneurship at SUU and their upcoming events, please click here.
Story and photos by McKayla Olsen