Utah’s top high school entrepreneurs won $30,000 in cash and prizes at the 2019 High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge Final Awards and Showcase event at the University of Utah’s Lassonde Studios. The program is managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a division of the David Eccles School of Business, and sponsored by Zions Bank.
Noisy NICU Cap, a team from American Heritage High School, won the grand prize of $7,000 for an idea of a cap that protects newborn babies from the loud sounds experienced in the NICU. Second place went to Career Rocket, a team from Waterford High School, and third place went to Enable Helmets, a team from Park City High School. (See a complete list of winners and team descriptions below.)
In an interview with the HSUEC winner, team member Olivia Washburn explained where her idea stemmed from: "I was reading an article online that was talking about the damaging effect that the noises in the NICU had on babies. I thought it was a great idea to create a cap design that would keep these babies' sensitive ears safe.”
Washburn’s next step in her business development will include giving her product to 50 mothers to test with their babies. “I'm going start marketing on social media and create a website to get the word out,” she said. “Then I want to start a Kickstarter to get funding so I can ultimately sell online to mothers and hospitals.”
The 2019 High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge received almost 300 student business-idea submissions from high school students throughout the state. The top 20 teamsadvanced to the final round, where they got the chance to pitch their ideas to judges, made up of many influential community leaders.
"The teams this year showed exemplary drive and passion throughout all their ideas,” said Kearsa Hodgson, the student director of the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. “They identified problems in the community around them and were proactive in developing innovative solutions. It is amazing to see what students can accomplish."
Among the other prizes were $1,000 scholarships for eight young creative minds to live at Lassonde Studios, an entrepreneurial living-learning community at the University of Utah. The building opened in August 2016. All students at the University of Utah are welcome to live at Lassonde Studios or to use the 20,000-square foot innovation space on the first floor to collaborate, build prototypes and launch companies.
Learn more about High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge at lassonde.utah.edu/hsuec.
Winners of the 2019 High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge
- Grand Prize Winner, $7,000 (award sponsored by Zions Bank)– The Noisy NICU Cap
- Second Place Winner, $5,000 (Zions Bank)– Career Rocket
- Third Place Winner, $2,000 (Zions Bank)– Enable Helmets
- Lassonde Studios Scholarships, $1,000 each (Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute)– Jonny Vizmeg (Dormmock), Carson Young (H2ONE: Vita Portable Water Filter), Hridhay Suresh (Parallel), Kaden Terry (CheapEats), Kyla Schramm (GrowGrub), Samantha Davis (GrowGrub), Ben Gubler (FamTrack), Nicholas Wankier (Sporknife)
- People’s Choice Award, $1,000 (Zions Bank)– The Bad Hair Company
- Best Prototype Award, $500 (Zions Bank)– Dormmock
- STEM Entrepreneur Award, $1,000 (STEM Action Center)– H2ONE: Vita Portable Water Filter
- Top Online Vote Award, $500 (Zions Bank)– The Quick Pitch
- Judges Award, $1,000 (Zions Bank)– Little Healthcare
- Finalist Award, $100 each (Zions Bank)– All top 20 teams won an additional $100
Top 20 Teams in the 2019 High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge
Here are the top 20 teams in the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. These teams will advance to the final event. They are listed in alphabetical order:
- BeenAsked (American Fork High School) – A website facilitating finding dates and deals for school dances.
- Career Rocket (Waterford School) – A platform that facilitates educational connections between students and industry experts.
- CheapEats (Desert Hills High School) – An app that offers discounts for eating at restaurants during slow hours of the day.
- Cno2 (Park City High School) – Social application that incentivizes eco-conscious living by rewarding users for completing eco challenges.
- Dormmock (West High School) – A hammock made to be used indoors to save space and to help people who have back pain sleep more comfortably.
- Enable Helmets (Park City High School) – A helmet specifically designed for people with cochlear implants to be safely worn during sports and other activities.
- FamTrack (Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy) – Track your family goals in one app that combines goal planning, tracking and communication into one simple platform.
- Feudal (American Fork High School)– A platform that gives artists the ability to license their work to individual influencers and content creators.
- GrowGrub (Pleasant Grove High School) – A nonprofit organization to recycle unused healthy produce, benefiting local communities.
- H2ONE: Vita Portable Water Filter (Bountiful High School) – A smaller, lighter, faster and cheaper UV water sterilizer.
- Little Healthcare (West High School) – An app that supports families to improve children’s drug adherence.
- Magnetic Hanger (Park City High School) – A clothes hanger that makes it easier to take clothes off the hook without damaging your hanger.
- Noisy NICU Cap (American Heritage School)– A cap that protects newborn babies’ from the loud sounds experienced in the NICU.
- Parallel (Bingham High School) – An easy-to-use crowdsourced parking app to benefit car owners and landowners.
- PowerPop (Leadership Academy of Utah) – A popsicle made to provide electrolytes that is made with natural ingredients.
- Sporknife (Park City High School) – The four-in-one environmentally friendly utensil that combines the knife, spoon, fork and straw.
- The Bad Hair Company (Desert Hills High School) – A subscription box providing affordable high-quality healthy hair care for men.
- The Full Use Pencil (Corner Canyon High School)– The environmentally friendly, no-waste pencil that is redesigned for greater usage of both graphite and eraser.
- The Gogg-Lator (Park City High School) – A device that connects your ski goggles and mask to keep your face warm while properly ventilating to prevent your goggles from fogging up.
- The Quick Pitch (Cyprus High School) – A baseball pitching machine with a connected ball this is automatically retrieved and reloaded.