Reprinted with permission from the Economic Development Corporation of Utah

Calling Utah's innovators and entrepreneurs. Your solutions to make an immediate impact on improving Utah's air quality may be worth $45,000 in cash awards.

Last week the Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) and Chevron jointly launched "Bright Skies – Utah Clean Air Innovation Contest," offering $45,000 in cash awards to winning innovators and entrepreneurs whose clean-tech solutions make an immediate and measurable improvement to Utah's air quality.

UCAIR Executive Director Ted Wilson says the contest is open to all Utah innovators, entrepreneurs, businesses and non-profit organizations interested in developing innovations that immediately improve Utah's air quality. Such innovations could include those that might reduce industrial or auto emissions, apps that get people involved in improving air quality or other new technical developments. However, the entries must demonstrate a measurable difference on air quality and preference will be given to innovations currently in use or that can be implemented in the immediate future.

"Utah's air quality is a concern to everyone," says Wilson. "We all share in the challenge to improve our air quality and we are doing many good things that are making a real difference. To take the effort a step further, our Bright Skies contest is a way to reach out to the broader community and invite creative thinkers to help find solutions that will have an even greater impact."

Chevron is a UCAIR Community Partner and contest co-sponsor. Mikal Byrd, policy, government, and public affairs representative at Chevron's Salt Lake Refinery, says the company is excited to reach out to "the thinkers and doers" in the state and invite them to apply their skills and knowledge to air quality improvement.

"We are confident that the Bright Skies contest will be an excellent platform for innovators to present their ideas that will improve air quality," he adds.

The contest is a first of its kind for Utah and possibly across the country. Wilson says it will be managed by Grow Utah, a privately funded non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the creation of innovative, entrepreneur-led, high growth businesses in the state. Grow Utah has powered dozens of other successful innovation contests across the state and has its finger on the pulse of Utah's innovation and entrepreneurial community.

"We work with innovators and entrepreneurs all of the time in their various ventures and businesses, so we are excited to lay down this challenge for them to step up and bring their creative talents and abilities to help solve the real issue of improving Utah's air quality," says T. Craig Bott, president of Grow Utah. "We believe Utah's entrepreneurs and innovators can step up to this challenge and make a real difference."

The contest is co-sponsored by Zions Bank and the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, which are also UCAIR Community Partners. Contest applications may be submitted through Nov. 2, 2016 and selected finalists will present their innovations at a public event held on Nov. 16. At the conclusion of that event, the winners will be announced and the cash prizes awarded.

Ted Wilson says everyone wins when capable Utahns pick up the challenge to help improve the state's air quality. Moreover, the state's younger generation wins when their clean-tech innovations and ideas are welcomed. "That's what the Bright Skies Contest Innovation Contest is about – a win for everyone."

For more information on the Bright Skies Utah Clean Air Innovation Contest, and to apply, visit www.ucair.org.