Entrepreneur competition open to high school, college students in Idaho

Hagadone News Network | December 3, 2020 1:00 AM

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2021 Northwest Entrepreneur Competition in Spokane.

The competition is the largest student entrepreneur competition in the region, according to a press release, with 60 to 100 teams of students attending each year. The competition is open to all college and high school students in Washington and Idaho region.

Students will pitch their business ideas to judges in three different qualifying rounds, receive feedback and compete for a total of $42,000 in prize money, according to the press release.

Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, the event will be held virtually this year, and end with a virtual pitch event and award ceremony on Thursday, April 15, 2021.

Ryan Arnold, co-manager of the 2021 NEC, said he believes the virtual event will allow students to engage better with other competitors across wide geographic regions.

“The NEC has always been about connecting students to resources and feedback,” he said. “We believe that a virtual event can deliver that effectively to better impact learning outcomes.”

Participants are required to submit a 90-second “elevator pitch” describing their idea by Feb. 26. Participants are also encouraged to attend one of the two free “Prep Your Pitch!” informational sessions, scheduled on Dec. 16 and Jan. 13.

The 2021 competition will have three categories for students to choose from: Traditional business, technology, and open business, which the website describes as being geared toward a team mixed with graduate students or community members.

Each category will have a top prize of $10,000. That prize money was funded by the Herbert B. Jones Foundation, with additional awards supported through other community sponsors.

Foundation President Michael Bauer said small businesses are the “backbone” of the economy.

“Supporting the Northwest Entrepreneur Competition is an impactful way to encourage, stimulate and sustain economic enterprises in our communities,” Bauer said.

More information regarding the 2021 NEC including participation and Prep Your Pitch! sessions can be found at https://nwentrep.com/.

Inquiries regarding business community participation, including business plan judges and NEC sponsorship opportunities, can be sent to Sam Koester at Sam.Koester@NIC.edu.