Register now for Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

SALT LAKE CITY — Registration for the 2018-19 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, a statewide business model competition, is now open to all university students in Utah.

Teams compete for $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes, including a $40,000 grand prize. The registration deadline is Thursday, Feb. 14.

The competition is managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, and sponsored by Zions Bank.

To participate, students can visit the event website at to download the competition packet and apply online. Students must submit a written business model.

The top 20 teams will be selected based on their business models and announced on Feb. 27. These teams advance to compete in the remaining phases of the competition, which include creating a two-minute video, two pitches for in-person judging and tabling during the public showcase at Lassonde Studios on the University of Utah campus on March 30.

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Source:: Deseret News – Business News

From zero to 400 mph in two seconds, abort motor test ignites northern Utah sky

PROMONTORY, Box Elder County — Blasting off into orbit is risky even under the best of conditions, and making sure the engines responsible for protecting astronauts can operate even in frigid cold weather is one way to mitigate the inherent danger of human space exploration.

On Thursday, Northrop Grumman conducted a ground test of its launch abort motor that will be used for NASA’s Orion spacecraft — an effort to ensure astronaut safety in case of a worst-case scenario during launch or early stages of flight. The Orion spacecraft is designed to carry a crew and launch on NASA’s heavy-lift Space Launch System for missions beyond the moon.

This particular test was specifically conducted to determine how the motor performed at cold temperatures — in this case at 27 degrees.

“Being a cold test means we can fire the motor down in Florida at these colder temperatures and have confidence that the motor will perform as expected,” Erica Sandoval, team lead for the Northrop Grumman rocket motor and loaded motor program, said. “This is very important because we need to show that our new system for safety works properly for the astronauts.”

“You really want to make sure you have a reliable product that will work in all of the situations required,” she added.

The abort motor is the primary motor in the launch abort system on Orion and in an emergency, the system would safely eject the crew module away from the launch vehicle, she said.

“Our motor pulls the capsule away from the main (rocket) stack if there were an issue,” she said.

Previous large-scale tests of the launch abort motor included a development motor test in 2008, a launch pad abort test of the complete system in 2010 and the qualification motor-1 static test in 2017. This most recent test is the next step …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

Utah Inland Port Authority hires 6-month interim director for $100,000

SALT LAKE CITY — Amid criticism from one of its own board members earlier this week that the Utah Inland Port Authority Board isn’t moving fast enough, the board took another step Wednesday to kickstart the creation of what’s expected to be Utah’s largest economic project ever.

The port authority board — which has been functioning without any staff for nearly four months — voted to hire an interim executive director while it continues its search for a permanent chief staffer.

That six-month contract with Chris Conabee, former managing director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and chairman of the Point of the Mountain Development Commission, will cost the port authority $100,000, as well as potentially a $10,000 bonus at the end of his contract.

Without debate, the board voted unanimously to hire Conabee, who didn’t make it to Wednesday’s meeting due to a snowstorm that kept him from traveling from Park City, said Derek Miller, the board’s chairman and president of the Salt Lake Chamber.

“I think we all agree Chris is the right individual for the job,” Miller said, noting Conabee’s experience with public engagement for the Point of the Mountain’s development.

“He wanted me to share with you his commitment, his desire, everything he can bring to bear on this project during the next six months to make sure it’s successful,” Miller said.

Conabee’s hiring is one of several actions the board has taken over the last nearly four months to get the port authority’s wheels turning, including the adoption of a $2 million budget.

But earlier this week, board member Sen. Gregg Buxton, R-Roy, (Senate President Niederhauser’s appointee) complained to legislators sitting on the Legislative Management Committee that the port authority’s progress has been sluggish.

“It’s kind of frustrating how slow things are happening, quite frankly, to me,” Buxton told lawmakers, noting that …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

Trade conference in Utah is like ‘commercial speed dating’ for business

SALT LAKE CITY — While Utah already exports billions of dollars annually in goods and services to countries around the world, a U.S. trade official notes the state, and many others as well, still need a little help finding a match for their businesses.

Along that line, the U.S. Commercial Service, the export promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce, hosted a national conference in Salt Lake City this week in an effort to help American businesses increase aerospace, defense and cybersecurity exports to the Indo-Pacific.

“We have representatives from 15 Indo-Pacific markets and they do (hundreds of) one-on-one appointments with our U.S. small- and medium-sized companies,” Thomas McGinty, acting deputy undersecretary for international trade, said. “It’s kind of commercial speed dating to start a dialogue about whether they are a good prospect for whatever they make or their service in that market.”

Companies from 37 states and the District of Columbia participated.

The primary goal of the event was to connect U.S. companies with potential business partners on a global scale. The concept of Discover Global Market is to bring the assets of the International Trade Administration “directly to communities like Salt Lake City and Utah,” McGinty said.

He said having such a conference is a time and money-saving solution for small-and medium-sized firms that allows them to develop relationships they might otherwise miss out on.

The conference connected American suppliers and manufacturers, U.S. commercial diplomats and international executives from more than 15 markets, including Myanmar, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Among the agencies and firms speaking at the conference were Boeing, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

The conference included numerous components aimed at preparing U.S. firms to succeed internationally, McGinty explained.

“It’s all about jobs. Our mission is about jobs,” …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News