The annual Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition was established by the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Each year, students from across the University compete for a chance to win $50,000. In addition to the grand prize, students can win the Dragonfly Energy Innovation Award, a new $10,000 prize funded by Sean Nichols and Denis Phares, co-owners of Dragonfly Energy and finalists of the 2014 Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition.
Out of the 25 teams to enter the competition this year, five teams were selected as finalists.
“I have heard from several of the judges in the first four stages of competition that this has been the best group of student entrepreneurs and business concepts they have ever seen,” Dick Bartholet, director of the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition, said. “I expect several of these teams to launch their business and achieve substantial success, regardless of who wins.”
The Sontag Finals are set to take place at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 14, 2022, in the Joe Crowley Student Union on the University of Nevada, Reno campus, with the five teams presenting their pitches to a panel of judges, followed by a Q&A session. Seating will be limited; however, the final presentations will also be live-streamed for the first time ever.
The five student-led finalist teams are:
- Adventure Provisions, a business that fulfills the needs of adventurers who have dietary restrictions or are otherwise health-conscious by providing a wider variety of tastier meals.
- Team: Sierra Hixson
- BobaBabes, a retail beverage business founded around the increasingly popular tea-based beverage called boba tea.
- Team: Sophia Waite and Shaylin Segura
- MacroHydro, an AgTech software and hardware company that creates custom, programmable hydroponics management systems.
- Team: Beau Safken, Brian Sneed and Joshua Conken
- TC Corp, a business that strategizes, transports, markets, sells and installs luxury, newly refurbished affordable refrigerators.
- Team: Cesar Tovar and Kylie Eubanks
- U-Niq, a registry for physical collectibles that provides digital certificates of authenticity and title of ownership, utilizing blockchain technology.
- Team: Perm Singh
University alumnus Rick Sontag created the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition in 2011 with his $1 million gift to the University. The endowment created by the gift funds the award in perpetuity. The award is a single prize of $50,000, given at the end of each spring semester to the competition winner.