Utah’s best college entrepreneurs have been narrowed to the top-20 teams that advance to the final event of 2015 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge later this month. 

The annual, state-wide, business-plan competition is hosted by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah and sponsored by Zions Bank.

The public is invited to meet the top-20 teams at a public showcase and award ceremony on Saturday, March 28 at 4-6 p.m. in the Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building (1655 E. Campus Center Dr.). The event is an opportunity to get to know the teams, vote for the people’s choice award and see who wins the more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

“It is so fun to see the broad range of exciting ideas,” said Dane Money, the co-chair of the Utah Entrepreneur Series and a business student at the University of Utah. “Student entrepreneurs have a contagious excitement.”

More than 180 teams competed this year with business ideas ranging from medical devices and aluminum skateboard decks to hydroponic farming. Teams advanced to the final event by winning a qualifying event at campuses across the state or through a judging process.

The University of Utah is currently ranked as the No. 2 school in the nation for cash awarded to student entrepreneurs, according to the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine. Last year, the University of Utah provided $744,550 in prizes to student entrepreneurs.

“The prize money provided by Zions Bank and our other sponsors is critical to the development of new student businesses,” said Troy D’Ambrosio, executive director of the Lassonde Institute, a division of the David Eccles School of Business.

The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is part of a student-run series of competitions called the Utah Entrepreneur Series. They began with Innovation Tournaments in the fall followed by Opportunity Quest competitions at universities across the state. The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is the final event in the series.

For more information about the Utah Entrepreneur Series, go toues.utah.edu. Learn more about student entrepreneurship at the University of Utah at lassonde.utah.edu.