University of Idaho - I Banner
students walk on University of Idaho campus

Visit U of I

Learn about the many reasons the University of Idaho could be a perfect fit for you. Schedule Your Visit

Student Entrepreneurs win $3,500 at Business Pitch Contest

November 18, 2016

The University of Idaho College of Business & Economics awarded $3,500 in prize money to four teams during the fall 2016 Idaho Pitch competition on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

 Approximately 120 University of Idaho students pitched their business ideas to 40 judges during the annual competition. The contest allows student entrepreneurs to meet multiple judges, pitch their business or product idea, and have a conversation about how to move their ideas forward.

The $3,500 in cash prizes is sponsored by Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge

The winning teams are:

  • First place - The Grid Defender - A utility pole technology to reduce utility grid storm damage: $1,500. Team members: From the College of Engineering, seniors Austin Amrein, Shane Doll, Elizabeth Hernandez, Justin Puryear, Daniel Schlittler and Lexi Turkenburg; from the College of Business & Economics, senior Joshua Brands and junior Helena Kirkland.
  • Second place - Darwins Demons - A video game studio at UI that incorporates scientific ideas into video games: $1,000. Team members: Graduate student Karl Hirning, junior Erick Lee, senior Kirsten Way and senior Joshua Yamamoto, all in the College of Business & Economics
  • Third place  - Mining Machine - An automated mining machine that can mine precise veins of ore in a narrow manner: $500. Team members: Senior Cooper Brooks, College of Business & Economics, and College of Engineering seniors Lane Matteson and David Elder Waters.
  • Fourth place - Tiny House Community – Provides students an affordable and alternative way of living by renting a tiny house: $500. Team members: College of Engineering seniors Marius Schwarzmann and Bridger Hopkins.

The college will hold its spring Idaho Pitch contest on Friday, April 21, 2017, in the Idaho Commons Summit Conference Space, followed by the annual Business Plan Competition on Saturday, April 22, 2017, in the J.A. Albertson Building.

To learn more about the Idaho Entrepreneurs program visit or contact Idaho Entrepreneurs Director George Tanner at 208-885- 6475 or email

Amber Crowley 
Marketing and Communication Manager 
College of Business and Economics 

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at