OGDEN, UT – Vista Outdoor and Grow Utah just awarded Utah entrepreneurs $40,000 in cash and services to get their outdoor recreation innovations off the ground.
Now in its eighth year, the annual contest was held to find, recognize, and support Utah entrepreneurs with new innovations in the fields of hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, biking, shooting sports, golf, watersports, snow sports and more.
Over 80 applicants applied this year and from those, 11 finalists were then invited to present at the final judging event in Ogden last week. Nearly 200 people attended the event as the general public and industry-related judges listened to each finalist pitch their innovations. Three winners were awarded a total of $40,000 cash and services to help further their business.
“Utah is an incredible place to start an outdoor recreation business,” said T. Craig Bott, president & CEO of Grow Utah, contest organizer and non-profit dedicated to accelerating economic development through entrepreneurship. “Where else can you build an outdoor product, test it right out your back door, find local investors, manufacturing providers, talented workforce, shipping infrastructure, and everything else needed to succeed? That is happening here, and very talented entrepreneurs are taking advantage of these unique opportunities. Many of them were here tonight.”
(Grand Prize Winner) Monocoque Carbon Fiber Compound Process by AST Manufacturing: AST's monocoque carbon fiber manufacturing process produces unique anti-vibration and ultra-light core outdoor gear products. Their flagship product is the highly acclaimed PSE Carbon Air Compound Bow with other products to be announced soon.
(Runner-up) Wavio: A voice-activated, two-way radio that bridges between headphones and phone and also provides off-grid phone calls, texting and location sharing. www.getwavio.com
(Runner-up) Trail Series by RedHead Tools: The "Trail Series" is a portable and modular shovel system utilizing RedHed Tools' patent pending "Quick Connect" system. It is ideal for backcountry trail and forestry work. www.redhedtools.com
Rekon: Shooting sport technology that allows users to track their performance, compete with others and connect with shooters across the world. www.teamrekon.com
(Crowd Favorite Award) Trisul Drift Portable Hydroelectric Power: A portable handheld device that generates electrical power from rivers and streams thus allowing backcountry power generation without solar restrictions.
Segmented Shotgun Slug by Connor Yadon: A unique shotgun slug design that provides better accuracy, multiple wound channels, and deeper wound penetration thus allowing shotguns to be used to hunt bigger game with better results.
KURUK Bike Rack by Red Wolf Technologies: The Kuruk is a bike rack that sits in the bed of pickup trucks and instantly adjusts to all bike wheel sizes. It provides instant loading without obstructing cargo space and securely protects both bikes and trucks. www.KURUKbikeracks.com
Razik Epitome Hartail Mountainbike by Razik Bicycles: The Razik Epitome is an all new hardtail racing mountain bike with Isotruss latticework tubing that provides an incredibly strong and lightweight frame. www.razik.com
Camper Jeep by Canyon Recreation: The Camper Jeep by Canyon Recreation is a car-camping service that provides a unique Jeep rig with a rooftop tent and all the car-camping equipment necessary to explore Utah's major attractions or its secret spots. www.canyonrecreation.com
Adjustagrill Campfire by Panaceas: The Adjustagrill Campfire is a portable campfire product that elevates and contains the fire and cooking surface to meet all requirements for a contained fire box. It includes the Adjustagrill grilling surface which allows for easy cooking of food over an open flame. www.adjustagrill.com
The Kachula Blanket by Coalatree: Coalatree makes sustainable, organically sourced products. The Kachula blanket is a Coalatree blanket that is waterproof on both sides, piped with rip-stop nylon and zippered in the corner thus making it the perfect emergency poncho. www.coalatree.com
“The quality of the finalists this year was very high,” said Brett Merrell, Senior Vice President, Marketing for Vista Outdoor. “We saw some very promising companies present their ideas. They had already tested their ideas and gained good consumer traction. Vista Outdoor is excited to help these companies advance their ideas and is committed to help them grow here in Utah.”
The 2016 Grand Prize winner was AST Manufacturing, a carbon fiber manufacturing company from Nephi, Utah. Their proprietary process enables them to make lightweight, strong, carbon fiber molded outdoor products faster and cheaper than competitors in China.
Founded six months ago, AST has already generated over $600,000 in sales and hired 49 employees. Their flagship product is the riser (handle) for the acclaimed PSE Carbon Air Compound Bow, however they will soon launch into other outdoor products.
“We are ecstatic to be the grand prize winner”, said Dale Gledhill, Co-Founder of AST Manufacturing. “We can’t express how grateful we are to win this contest. The prizes will go a long way toward helping us build a world-class outdoor product manufacturing company right here in Utah.”
The cash prizes were funded by Grow Utah and the NorthFront Entrepreneur Alliance of Weber and Davis Counties. The service/gear prizes were offered by Cotopaxi, Durham Jones & Pinegar Law, Adventure Gear Fest, Vista Outdoor, Klugonyx, Modaliti, IFS360, Athletic Event Supply and High Mountain Marketing. Underwriters of the contest included Vista Outdoor, Zion’s Bank, Mountain West Small Business Finance, USTAR, and Durham Jones.
“This contest was only possible due to the wonderful partners who stepped up and contributed,” said T. Craig Bott, President and CEO for Grow Utah. “Without great partners like Vista Outdoor and others this event wouldn’t happen every year. We are thrilled that others have caught the vision of making Utah the center of outdoor product innovation.”
For more information on the winners and the final event, visit: www.ConceptToCompany.org/Outdoor16
About Grow Utah
Grow Utah, is a privately funded non-profit organization dedicated to accelerate the creation of innovative, entrepreneur-led, high-growth businesses that will strengthen and expand the future growth of Utah’s economy.
The vision of Grow Utah is to create a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in Utah that fosters entrepreneurial talent, drives innovation to solve market needs, aligns community resources and support, and ensures funding for products, entrepreneurs and businesses of promise.
To date, Grow Utah’s Concept to Company contests have distributed more than $1M in prize money and services amongst 26 contests and have helped launch over 130 companies. For more information, visit www.GrowUtah.com
About Vista Outdoor Inc.
Vista Outdoor is a leading global designer, manufacturer and marketer of consumer products in the growing outdoor sports and recreation markets. The company operates in two segments, Shooting Sports and Outdoor Products, and has a portfolio of well-recognized brands that provides consumers with a wide range of performance-driven, high-quality and innovative products for individual outdoor recreational pursuits. Vista Outdoor products are sold at leading retailers and distributors across North America and worldwide. Vista Outdoor is headquartered in Utah and has manufacturing operations and facilities in 13 U.S. States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico along with international customer service, sales and sourcing operations in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe and New Zealand. For news and information, visit www.vistaoutdoor.com or follow us on Twitter @VistaOutdoorInc and Facebook at www.facebook.com/vistaoutdoor .