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Student Entrepreneurs Set to Showcase Ideas

October 21, 2003 — The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge will be holding its annual Kick-off at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 23, 2003 in the Saltair Room of the University of Utah Student Union building. The keynote speaker will be Shawn Nelson, CEO and founder of the very successful local start-up, LoveSac. Nelson is a graduate of the U’s David Eccles School of Business.

The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge (UEC) is a business plan competition involving college students from schools across the state. Over 100 student teams will prepare new business plans to be judged by a panel of community professionals. The team with the winning plan receives $40,000 cash to fund the business as well as numerous in-kind services from local accounting, banking, venture, and law firms. UEC organizer Noah Springer says the competition provides actual business experience that is hard to find in college. “Our focus is to help students cultivate and implement ideas, taking them from an academic setting to real world applications,” said Springer.

Since its inception in 1999, community leaders have endorsed the program such as: Governor Michael Leavitt; Bernie Machen, University of Utah President; and David Neeleman, CEO of JetBlue Airways.

Nine student directors from the University of Utah run the UEC. They organize the competition, raise funds for the prizes and operating budget, and coordinate efforts between the student teams and community professionals.

Additional information about the UEC is available at