As part of the One Utah Summit recently concluded here in Cedar City, Southern Utah University hosted the annual State Bank Business Challenge. The challenge is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch their small business ideas to a panel of professionals for prizes ranging from cash to mentoring opportunities.

The competition opened with a preliminary round where students were give three 90 second pitches to present the business models. From there, scores on the original pitch narrowed the field down to the semi-finalists. After that, competitors advanced to the final round where they would pitch their ideas to a prestigious panel of judges.

That panel consisted of Utah Governor Spencer Cox; the Chief Executive Officer of State Bank of Southern Utah, Eric Schmutz; Entrepreneur in Residence for the Office of the Governor, Brad Bonham; Michelle Tullis, Commercial Loan Officer and Vice President, State Bank of Southern Utah; Charles Cooke, Senior Writer for the National Review; Charles Cooke, Founder and COO of Financial Solutions; Cyndi Tetro, Chief Executive Officer of Brandless and Rich Christiansen, Chief Executive Officer of The Storm Financial Group.

Eight finalist were awarded with prizes this year. James Thelin with his business MegaLoaf won a $15,000 cash award as well as the Grand Prize Award and the Best Pitch award along with a special social media mention from Governor Cox. Megan Hutchinson with Sunny Side Up Pastures also a $15,000 cash award along with the Grand Prize Award along with State Bank Legacy and Values and the Business Use awards.

SUU Media Relations
SUU Media Relations

You can see the complete list of winners by clicking here.

Thelin’s business, MegaLoaf Sourdough, is focused on changing the bread industry by crafting uniquely flavorful and healthy sourdough bread. MegaLoaf is infused with prebiotics and probiotics that make it stand out from other bread brands.

Hutchinson's business, Sunny Side Up Pastures, believes all food should be local, healthy and sustainable. Hutchinson also believes a healthy, sustainable future will need to be supported by more small an local farmers.

The State Bank Business Challenge give small business owners a great opportunity to network and build relationships. It is also a good platform to have their voices heard.

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