Business Startup Challenge Finalists Named
March 22, 2018
Montana’s aspiring entrepreneurs include impressive students from across the state. The annual John Ruffatto Business Startup Challenge hosted by University of Montana’s College of Business and the Blackstone LaunchPad at University of Montana received 27 applications from student teams across the state to compete for the over $50,000 in prize money.
A panel of judges selected 12 teams to compete on April 13, 2018, at the University of Montana. The teams will pitch their business to a panel of around 50 judges in hopes of receiving a portion of the prize money all of which is generously contributed by businesses, organizations, and individuals who are committed to the future of entrepreneurship in Montana. In its 29th year, the competition draws students starting ventures from a “pizza farm” to union labor management software. Finalists represent both the University of Montana and Montana State University, with majors that include microbiology, computer science, marketing, finance, creative writing, geography, environmental studies and mechanical engineering.
Paul Gladen, Director of of the Blackstone LaunchPad at the University of Montana, and leader of the competition’s organizing team says, “Our selection team was amazed at the high-quality entries we had this year. Selecting finalists proved difficult because the competition was so steep. This reflects the quality of education students are getting in Montana as well as this generation’s eagerness to start something that can make an impact.”
Of these diverse competitors, four finalists are selected during the day to compete for the top four prizes at the evening’s public event including the $15,000 first place cash prize. Doors open to the public event at 4:30 PM and it begins at 5:00 PM in the Gallagher Business Building. A reception will follow with complimentary food and a cash bar in the Gilkey Education Building located on the University of Montana campus. Tickets for the event are $10 (free to students). Click here to purchase your ticket.
Notable previous JRBSC winners include Chilton Skis, restaurant Five-on-Black, and Big Sky Brewing.
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