UM EPIC Ideas Showcase awards $2,500 to students

Nov. 7, 2019

Photos from the event


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MISSOULA – Blackstone Launchpad at the University of Montana and the UM College of Business hosted the EPIC Ideas Showcase on campus at the Innovation Factory. 20 teams pitched their business ideas with the hope of earning a portion of the $2,500 in prize money.

Each team competing was stationed at a booth within the newly opened Innovation Factory in the University Center. After speaking with each booth, judges individually casted votes by investing a certain amount of imaginary money into each team. The real prize money was then allocated to each of the competitors depending on how much money the judges invested.

While all 20 of the teams competing left with at least some prize money, two teams were awarded over $400.

One of the top winners was Sandra Ashley’s idea of a 12-lesson curriculum for teachers and students on the American Indian boarding school history and today’s aftermath.

Aspen Runkel and Claire Bradley took the other top spot with The Girl Code, an all-girls camp that teaches the power of technology and basic coding and web development skills.

The EPIC Ideas Showcase – previously the EPIC Pitch Competition – was made possible by the generous contribution from First Security Bank.

Blackstone LaunchPad at UM is a center for entrepreneurship for students, alumni, faculty, and staff at the University of Montana. The organization offers free services to assist entrepreneurs in turning their ideas, skills and passions into real world businesses and nonprofit organizations through individualized coaching and venture creation support.

The Innovation Factory is a creative space that provides connections, opportunities, and resources for the campus and community alike. Located on the second floor of the University Center, it is a place to augment and expand a student’s experience from within any discipline. It will be a touchpoint where the Missoula community can overlap with UM research and the innovative student engine.

UM’s College of Business has helped launch the careers of Montana’s leaders and innovators since 1918.


The University of Montana is the flagship university of the state. The College of Business at UM is nationally renowned and has been named the top business school in the Big Sky Conference by U.S. News and World Report for four consecutive years.