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Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition

The 2016 Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition Winner: Instally

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Important Dates

  • Intent to compete October 30th, 2016
  • Business Plan Submission Dec. 30th, 2016

Congratulations to the winner of the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition 2016

On March 30, 2016, the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition announced the fifth winner of the 2016 competition. Instally, founded by MBA candidate Ryan Klekas, is trying to alleviate the difficulty of finding parking near universities. Klekas is working on quickly expanding to west coast universities in a short time to dominate the market. The $50,000 prize will be used primarily to build out the technology.

Second place, a prize of $5,000, was awarded to Helmet Neuro Protection Technology. The team is headed by MBA candidate Chase Houston and is working on making helmets safer for those in contact sports. To read more, check out Nevada Today's article here.

Congratulations to the Five Finalists of the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition 2016

On December 9, 2015 the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition announced that five student teams were selected to advance toward the $50,000 grand prize. Those companies were: Fraktion, Hana Energy LLC, Helmet Neuro Protection Technology, Instally and Ucraft Brew. Read more about the teams. These finalists were awarded $1,000 each to help them further their ideas and prepare for the final submission to the competition. 

Congratulations to the winner of the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition 2015

On March 9, 2015, the winner of year's Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition was announced. Nevada Dynamics, a hardware and software safety solution for unmanned autonomous systems, was the winner of the $50,000 award.

Student competition team Navatar won $5,000 and second place for their business plan, a free indoor navigation system application for blind students. Two other finalist teams were also recognized for their participation: Burn Ready, a web-based event supply company and Adaption, a Bluetooth low-energy technology to make it easier to monitor activity in and outside of the home.

Congratulations to the 4 Finalists of the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition 2015

On December 10, 2014, we got the pleasure to announce the four finalists of the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition 2015. Each of the finalists will receive $1,000 to help validate and vet their ideas before their presentation to the final judges. The four finalists teams that will be moving on to compete for the grand prize of $50,000 are: Adaption, Burn Ready, Navatar and Nevada Dynamics. We're excited to see these teams progress!

UNR student Sontag competition team awarded $50,000 for entrepreneurship

The University of Nevada, Reno's Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition winner, Irrigo, is the recipient of $50,000, which will help further develop water efficiency services for flood irrigated agriculture. Using flood gate automation, field surveys and water and soil sensors all connected to the cloud, Irrigo is developing a more efficient way to irrigate agricultural fields.

Congratulations to the 7 Finalists of Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition 2014

December 11, 2013 we got the pleasure to announce that for the 2014 year of the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition we have seven finalists. Each of these seven finalists will receive $1,000 to help validate their business model or product along with additional mentoring and workshops before they present to the finalist judges. The seven teams, in alphabetical order, are: DragonFly Energy, DxDiscovery, Fitify, Irrigo, Leaf2Skin, Muse and Wasted.

These finalists represent a wide range of ages (the youngest competitor is 18 and in his first semester at UNR) and a variety of business models from fashionable eyewear products to an evolution in lithium-ion batteries. We're excited to see where the finalists will go!

Congratulations EscaZyme and ElectroVentures!

Two big winners walked away from the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition on Wednesday the 6th of March, 2013: ElectroVentures with the $5,000 Monroe-Schuler Foundation Silver Prize and EscaZyme with the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition Gold prize of $50,000 cash. Congratulations winners, judges, and all participants for the heated startup competition this year. Win or loose, there have been some great developments and new business on their way from right here at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Congratulations to the 2013 Finalists!

We had 24 great teams participate this year and each of the five finalists (ElectroVentures, Envirohaven, EscaZyme, The Mental Health Hub, and TERRANAMIC) will immediately get $1,000 to validate the market for and prototype their business ideas as they compete for $50,000 between now and February 2013. Read More about this year's Finalist Announcement.

2012 Winners: METS Hits a Homerun!

A huge round of applause to the winners of the 2012 Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition, Mining Environmental Technology and Services (METS). At a luncheon on Wednesday, May 9, 2012, METS received a check for $50,000 to help launch a business developing, producing, and marketing optical instruments to detect potentially harmful airborne particulates in mining work places. Team members include David Karr, Ben Sumlin, Heather Zunino and Bryan Rainwater. Congratulations are also in order for the competition finalists whose solid business proposals made this competition such a difficult one to judge. Thanks must be extended to Rick and Susan Sontag for their generous gift that kick-started this competition and to everyone who helped administer and manage the competition.

Rick Sontag Portrait

Rick Sontag

Alumnus Rick Sontag created the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition with his
$1 million gift to the University in 2011.

Learn more about Rick Sontag.

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