[media-credit name=”WEA” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]The Wildcat Entrepreneurs Association is offering up to $3,000 for the next big business idea. This is part of the Weber Entrepreneur Association’s Opportunity Quest where students can submit a business proposal to the WEA for review. The top three business ideas will receive a grant that could total up to $3000. A grand total of $5500 will be split between the three top ideas. The deadline for submissions was Nov. 23rd.

Opportunity Quest has been going on for three years and is a joint venture between the State of Utah and the University of Utah. Zion’s Bank provides the prize money for the universities that participate.

“We are responsible for getting the message out there to the students of WSU. The winners will then go on to the U of U to compete for the grand prize,” said WEA President Storee Nelson.

The application process will help students take their ideas to the next level, according to Nelson, whether they win or not.  The application is designed to help students put their idea into simple two to three sentence statements that get straight to the point. This is an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to put their ideas into action.

“It forces them to identify and define their target market,” Nelson said. “It also helps students to identify the need or problem that exists and then how they plan to solve it. It then helps them to analyze how they will reach their target audience. It also asks them how much money they think they would need to get their business going.”

The winner at the state level could win up to $40,000 to help launch his or her business idea. Students can go online and fill out the application, which requires only their name, business name and a few sentences about the business idea. The WEA committee will then review the applications, and the top seven finalists will compete for the $5500 from WSU and the chance to go head-to-head with the winners from other participating universities.

“We hope to get Alan Hall and Dave Norton as guest judges, however, neither have confirmed they will be available,” said Eric Waterfall, WEA assistant director.  Both Hall and Norton are part of Grow Utah Ventures, a group that screens investments for a number of angel investors and groups, and public funds.

The WEA is still working to put together the panel of judges for the final decision.

“It is an opportunity to encourage new growth, which is hugely needed in our economy right now,” said WSU senior Dave Pehrson, who entered his idea for a new marketing company.

Pehrson cited that he is in the midst of starting his own company and was excited to see an opportunity to obtain jumpstart funding.

“When I heard about this opportunity I jumped on it,” said Pehrson. “Not only for the chance to win some money to get my business growing but for a chance to present it to people who can give me positive input on my idea and help me to refine it.”

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