9NEWS to Broadcast UNC Monfort’s Fifth Annual Entrepreneurial Challenge

KUSA-TV/9NEWS is partnering with the University of Northern Colorado's Monfort College of Business to promote and broadcast its fifth annual Entrepreneurial Challenge. 9NEWS will produce a web broadcast to be distributed on 9NEWS.COM as well as a recorded television program. The Entrepreneurial Challenge takes place March 25.

Five finalists will present their business plans to a panel of judges in a Shark Tank format during the broadcasts. Gregg Moss, business reporter and 9NEWS anchor, will again be the emcee for the event. The competition awards a total of $50,000 in prize money; the first place winner receiving $25,000, second place $15,000 and third place $10,000. In addition, winners will receive business incubator services from UNC BizHub, the university's new business incubator.

"9NEWS is looking forward to sharing the entrepreneurial spirit with our online and broadcast audiences," said Lynne Valencia, vice president for Community Affairs for KUSA-TV/KTVD-TV. "The Entrepreneurial Challenge has built a solid reputation over the years for showcasing talented and creative entrepreneurs from the state of Colorado. We're anxious to see who rises to the top this time."

Dozens of aspiring entrepreneurs with ideas for new business ventures in Colorado submitted entries in this year's competition. Semifinalists will present their business concepts to a panel of experts at the Preliminary Challenge on Jan. 15 at the University Center on the UNC campus in Greeley. The finalists will be named shortly thereafter and will compete for the top prizes in the Entrepreneurial Challenge on March 25.

"We're very excited that 9NEWS is partnering with us, expanding the audience for the Entrepreneurial Challenge," said David Thomas, assistant professor of Management and director of the Entrepreneurial Challenge. "This competition has helped launch many businesses that have gone on to great success. The broadcasts will provide a broader audience with a view of the exciting ventures being built here in Colorado and will expand economic development by encouraging more participation in future Entrepreneurial Challenge competitions."

Winners of the fourth annual Entrepreneurial Challenge were Vertikle Enterprises/5280 Prosthetics, a company that improves the lives of amputees through a new generation of products; Grouse Malting and Roasting Co., which produces organic, gluten-free grains for brewing and baking; and WildFit Gyms, an outdoor fitness equipment concept featuring website and mobile app integration.

"Winning the Entrepreneurial Challenge made a big difference," said Vertikle Enterprises co-founder Clint Accinni. "Not only were we able to use some of the prize money to produce units and get them to patients who were waiting on the technology, but the press and attention that it drew also helped us tremendously. We have been able to increase our Internet presence and actually attract investors for larger capital amounts."

Grouse Malting and Roasting Co. president Twila Henley said, "The contacts I made at the Entrepreneurial Challenge were invaluable. That's where I met my new partner and investor. We've been able to double our production in less than a year."

"We believe it's important for the UNC Monfort College of Business to promote business growth and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit in Colorado," added UNC's Thomas. "With the partnership of 9NEWS, we expect this to be our best competition yet."

For more information about the competition, visit www.mcb-echallenge.com.

About the UNC Monfort College of Business

The Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business at the University of Northern Colorado is recognized for delivering excellence in business education. It is the first and only business program to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award from the Office of the President of the United States (2004). The college is accredited by AACSB International in both business and accounting - the "gold standard" for accreditation. For ten successive years Monfort's graduating seniors have scored in the top 4 to 10 percent on nationwide standardized exit exams. For more information, visit Monfort's website at mcb.unco.edu.

For more information, please visit: http://mcb.unco.edu/Events/E-Challenge/