Attracting sharks (Shark Tank) is a good thing at the 2015 Utah Student 25 gala held in rapidly growing Lehi at Thanksgiving Point’s Show Barn. Electricity fills the air here and the sharks circle in the warm waters of Utah student entrepreneurship. A who’s who of investors, partners, and aspiring business owners all converged here to seize a slice of the American dream.
2014 #1 company, Spencer Quinn of FiberFix gave an update to his student run business success since last year’s appearance at Utah Student 25. 1,8 million units of this amazing repair tape have been sold to-date. In 20,000 retailers in 24 countries! Not to shabby.
More than 60 student-founded companies submitted award applications. They represented Utah Valley University, Weber State University, Westminster, LDS Business College, Utah State University, Salt Lake Community College, University of Utah, and Brigham Young University. The competition is open to all post-secondary colleges and universities in Utah. Based on revenue and profits, competition was “shark fierce.”
Top Three 2015 Winners:
H.M. Cole -BYU- Seeks to offer fine custom clothing in the most convenient way possible. Their luxury products are handmade from start to finish.
DevMountain -BYU- DevMountain is an industry-leading code school. Founded by fellow coders, DevMountain’s expert faculty love sharing their craft and empowering the next wave of programers.
Roolee Boutique -USU- Provides outfit inspiration and fashion solutions for women in a friendly boutique environment as well as online.
While they may not yet dominate their industry, these firms produce revenue and profits that most college students only dream of. The fact that two of the top three companies are in the clothing industry may be instructive to other aspiring entrepreneurs.
Shark Tank in the Utah Water
BYU once again led the pack with the most winners (16) among the top 25. This may look like favoritism, but I beg to differ. A pioneer among Utah entrepreneur programs, the school has a head start on other fast rising programs at the aforementioned schools. Not just a local “phenom,” Utah’s entrepreneurial ecosystem garners national attention. ABC’s Shark Tank is holding open auditions for BYU students, faculty and staff to produce a show focused on Utah startups looking to attract some shark love.
Utah’s new business waters are warm and inviting. Mark Cuban once posed a question on Shark Tank, “What’s going on in Provo, Utah.” Well Mark, you and your cohorts are going to soon find out. Oh, and you may want to talk to some of the winners from among Utah Student 25.
About Utah Student 25 (#UtahStudent25)
Founded in 2009, the goal of the Utah Student 25 is to encourage growth and entrepreneurial activities in the state. They help student entrepreneurs get the recognition they need to thrive, as well as provide them with resources to contribute to Utah’s economy. They create synergy between student business owners and Utah’s renowned entrepreneurial community.
In my work in Public Relations for startups and entrepreneurs, I’ve come across some cool support groups in Utah. Do you have one to add to my list below?
Other notable resources and organization in Utah:
Utah Venture Entrepreneur Forum (UVEF)
1 Million Cups Provo & Salt Lake
UVU Entrepreneurship Institute
UVU Business Resource Center (BRC)
Entrepreneur Launch Pad
Grow Utah Ventures