S4 Competition

S4 stands for SUU’s Spring into Summer of Success. It’s our program’s highest-stakes entrepreneurship competition, with the winner bringing home $10,000. The winner is paired with a mentor from SUU’s Entrepreneur Leadership Council for the summer, with the goal of taking a solid business to the next level over the course of the summer.

SUU Spring into Summer of Success Competition Logo

In contrast to our speed pitch competitions, all students in this competition have income-generating businesses. Rather than a broad complement of judges, the ELC and a small cohort of friends of the program serve as judges.

In the first round, students present to judges the current status of their business, with the intention of determining who has the most developed businesses. For the three selected for the second round, students present their most daunting business challenge—and how they plan on addressing that challenge.

Participation by invitation only.

2023 Competition Winners

2022 S4 Competition Winners Matthew Matheson and Shadrac Reyes
$10,000 Winner, Jett Strand, Etched Timber

SUU student, Jett Strand, founder of Etched Timber landed our top prize of $10,000 for this year’s competition!

Born and raised in Southern Utah, Jett’s parents had no college education, but both ran successful businesses. Seeing this example, Jett always had a desire to have his own business. In sixth grade, Jett created an E*TRADE account to start trading stocks. While other kids his age were playing games on their phones, he was busy making money buying and selling stocks! In college Jett had a friend tell him how stupid it was that they were going to college just for a piece of paper. This statement got Jett thinking. So, he set out to do something about it! Jett created a business laser engraving diplomas on wood plaques. He made custom diploma plaques and found that there was a large demand for them on Etsy and other sources. Jett says, “I created Etched Timber because I love engraving things and working with my hands. The high-quality plaques were just a byproduct of my passion. I want to thank Landon Smith for giving me knowledge, drive, and direction in my business endeavors. Without him, my business would not be anywhere where it is today!” To order plaques from Jett go to https://etchedtimber.com/

2022 Khalert Bootstrapper of the Year Winner Cameron Dougherty
$5,000 Winner, Spencer Huff & Ryan Freeman, Celestial Bags

SUU Students Spencer Huff and Ryan Freeman won the 2nd place prize of $5,000.

Spencer and Ryan created Celestial Bags, a company focused on supplying missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with bags that will help them be as effective as possible. As missionaries, Spencer and Ryan worked in rain, snow, sweltering heat, humidity, and all sorts of conditions. They never found a good crossbody bag that fit their needs. The bags were either too small or too bulky. 

Upon returning home from missions, they wanted to design the perfect-sized bag that would uniquely meet the needs of missionaries represented by a logo of what missionaries do…bringing light to others. Their product is a simple cross-body bag with perfect dimensions to fit the materials missionaries carry around. Spencer said, “Missionaries, who typically range in age from 18-26, are at a point in their lives when most feel the pull to fit in with the styles of society. Our bag design allows them to do this while still maintaining the professionality that is expected of them during their service as a missionary.” To purchase these bags visit https://celestialbags.com/

2022 S4 competition winner Brandon Acajabon
$3,000 Winner, Bridger James & Sawyer James, Leaf & Lemon

SUU Student Bridger James and his brother Sawyer James owners of Leaf & Lemon were awarded $3,000.00 for 3 rd place.

Bridger and Sawyer, co-owners of Leaf & Lemon, made their journey to Cedar City from their hometown of Vancouver WA, with their collection of over 300 houseplants in early 2022. Upon arriving in Cedar, they noticed a need for quality houseplants in their new community, and with nowhere to buy the new and exotic species they frequently found in the Pacific Northwest, they began their entrepreneurial journey in September of 2022. They opened Leaf & Lemon at the local farmers market selling their collection of houseplants and exotic lemonades and quickly realized there was a huge market of houseplant lovers with no local spot to source their favorite plants. In December of 2022, Leaf & Lemon expanded to The Grind Coffeehouse with a permanent stand selling their products and have connected with multiple businesses across Cedar to provide interior decoration, wholesale plant options, and community events for all plant lovers alike.

With support from the Larry H. and Gail Miller Center For Entrepreneurship, Leaf & lemon has won 2 awards from 3 different business competitions and has been fortunate enough to use these funds to expand their plant and beverage products, extend their reach across Cedar City, and provide even more individuals with the love of houseplants. Leaf & Lemon's success has been driven by a dedication to customer satisfaction and a commitment to educating and empowering new and experienced plant lovers alike. With gratitude for the opportunities and support they have received, Bridger and Sawyer continue to shape the local house plant industry, inspiring others to embrace the beauty of indoor plants and the wonder of nature.

2022 S4 competition winner Brandon Acajabon
$2000 Alan Hall SalesPerson of the Year, Janson Port Portable Detail

SUU Student Janson Port, founder of Portable Detail won the $2000 Alan Hall SalesPerson of the Year Award.

Janson used his talents as a diligent worker to build a successful car detailing business. People love having clean cars but sometimes it gets challenging to make time. Janson saw that having a detailer come to your location was a “game changer”. With affordable pricing, the best quality chemicals, and no drop-off, Portable Detail is efficient and reasonable. In just one year Janson was able to grow from having just a vacuum and air compressor to acquiring all the chemicals he needed to be mobile. Portable Detail provides the convenience and thorough cleaning of a professional detail without the hassle of having to leave your location. Check him out at https://www.portabledetail.com/ .

Additional $500 Awards of Merit awarded to:

Chantel Clark - CKC Training,
Porter Wilkes & Payton Riggs - Sunsets Marketing
Carter Filion - The CR3W Museum
Baylee Wiener - Murals by Baylee

S4 Competition Archive

2022 S4 Competition Winners Matthew Matheson and Shadrac Reyes
$10,000 Winners, Matthew Matheson & Shadrac Reyes - Crypto Games and $2000 Alan Hall SalesPerson of the Year

SUU Senior Students, Matthew Matheson and Shadrac Reyes, founder and owner of Crypto Games, landed our top prize of $10,000 for this year’s competition! “Crypto Games LLC is an innovative game company focused on delivering one of the first crypto currency themed card games to the market. Our flagship game, Crypto Whales, is an addictively fun crypto spin off of Monopoly Deal and Cover Your Assets” as stated by Matt Matheson. After playing Cover Your Assets over Christmas break, Matt thought how much fun it would be to have a crypto-themed version of the game. After meeting with his friend Shad Reyes, they both agreed on the idea and began building their business. Within a few short months, Crypto Whales was born. “Winning this competition has made all the difference. One of our biggest challenges we were facing was having the capital to print our first 1000 games. With the prize money, we now have enough money to order our first set of games” said Matt. They are excited to launch their game this summer through Kickstarter! Anyone that wants to get on our early access list to purchase our game can visit https://www.cryptowhalescardgame.com/.

Matt and Shad credit their success to the incredible faculty and staff who have supported them throughout their time at SUU and advise anyone wanting to start a business, “Don’t let all the unknown prevent you from taking that first step.” In addition to the $10,000 prize, Crypto Games also won the $2000 Alan Hall Outstanding Salesperson of the Year. Congratulations to Matt and Shadrac!

2022 Khalert Bootstrapper of the Year Winner Cameron Dougherty
$7500 Kahlert Bootstrapper of the Year Winner, Cameron Dougherty Eco Lawn of Southern Utah

SUU Students, Cameron Dougherty, founder and owner of Eco Lawn of Southern Utah, and Brandon Acajabon, founder and owner of Inxon, both snagged second place prizes of $7500.

Cameron Dougherty says he grew up watching his dad own and operate a small business and eventually had the desire to follow in his footsteps. “Eco Lawn of Utah County provides Lawn Fertilization and Weed Control services. Our mission is to provide a green, weed-free lawn in a way that is eco-friendly, safer for children and pets, and better for the environment”, according to Cameron. Eco Lawn currently serves over 100 clients in Utah County and has a large focus on growth. Winning the competition “has provided me with funds that will allow me to grow the business faster than I otherwise would have been able to. Along with that though, it was a great opportunity to grow as a person, and to network with some amazing people” states Cameron. When asked what advice he had for other students wanting to start their own business, Cameron offered this: “Don't feel like you are required to create your own unique idea that you have to build and grow 100% yourself. Keep your eyes open for potential opportunities from former employers, family, friends, and other circles that you are a part of. Along with that, seek advice and support from those people as well. Lastly, don't be afraid to fail. If you try and fail you at least are creating experiences that you can learn and grow from, but if you don't ever try you are going to greatly limit your ability to progress.”

2022 S4 competition winner Brandon Acajabon
$7500 Kahlert Bootstrapper of the Year Winner, Brandon Acajabon - Inxson

Brandon Acajabón presented Inxson, an immersive storytelling company, where “we tell stories using immersive audio, giving you the perception of being surrounded by the elements in the story, putting you in the middle of the action, an experience that is simply fantastic”, says Brandon. With his idea, Landon Smith, The Larry H. & Gail Miller Center Entrepreneur in Residence, encouraged Brandon to sign up for his Entrepreneurship Practicum Course. This course offers students who have already launched a business or are prepared to do so, the opportunity to grow their business within a structured, supportive context. Students implement the knowledge, skills, abilities, tools and techniques demonstrated by the professor, into their own business venture. Brandon took everything he learned, earning himself an invitation to the S4 event and turning that into $7500. Brandon will invest those funds into the continued development of Inxson. When asked about his advice to student entrepreneurs, he responded, “Don’t wait any longer.”

Additional $250 honorable mentions awarded to:

Isaiah Tate - Valhalla Cell Health,
Harrison Alvey - Shair Log
Maddix Kelly - Maddix Kelly Photography
Victoria Fawcet - Arches Dance
Laurie Haderlie - Inspired Artist LLC
Rhoda Hammon - RB Travel

$10,000 Winner, Mirryn Morril - Morr Decor

SUU Student, Mirryn Morril, founder and owner of Morr Decor, won our $10,000 top prize for this year's competition! Morr Decor was a covid-born business! Mirryn was working two full-time jobs when the pandemic hit so as a creative outlet from work she started making stencils for a local Southern Utah baker. Mirryn quickly decided to turn the hobby into a business and started offering stencils to more people... the entire United States! She opened up Morr Decor on Etsy and sales have increased exponentially. Within 4 months Mirryn replaced her income from both jobs and has hit the ground running, creating stencils full time! She now employs 3 additional team members, helping to make stencils, and other baking essentials. In addition, Mirryn was the winner of the SUU Opportunity Quest 2021 and the bootstrap award recipient along with emerging entrepreneur award winner in the Lassonde Entrepreneur Challenge.

Second place
Second Prize Winner of $1300 and $2000 Alan Hall Outstanding Salesperson Award Recipient, Kaelei Corbridge - KJ Event Solutions

SUU Senior, Kaelei Corbridge, founder and owner of KJ Event Solutions, was our $2,000 Alan Hall Outstanding Salesperson award recipient! In addition Kaelei was the S4 runner up, winning an additional $1300. Kaelei “Lives for the memories that cannot be replaced.” A business born from a broken corsage, Kaelei became obsessed with helping others create beautiful moments starting with silk floral arrangements such as corsages, and wedding bouquets. She would expand her business, offering a photo booth, linens and other event decor! Every event is important to Kaelei, and her dream is to help make yours come true! Learn more about KJ Event Solutions and book with Kaelei today!

Additional Awards were given to: Madelyn Tebbs - Madly Done Designs ($525), Braden Mineer - Africa Helping Hands ($425), Austin Spencer - EzFeed ($200), Joseph Thompson - Red Rock Equipment ($125), Abdul Fakhrani - Zarf Coffee ($125).

SUU students, Jake and Jenna Duncan, founders and owners of Geode Swimwear, took the top spot and $10,000 prize money for this year's competition. With the desire to find cute, affordable, quality, modest swimwear for herself, Jake encouraged Jenna to take it one step further and start a business; reaching others just like Jenna in the quest of finding the perfect swimsuit. The rest is history and Geode Swimwear is well on their way to success! Learn more about Geode Swimwear, and order your swimsuit today! Congrats, Jake and Jenna!

Kiana Stoker, owner and Founder of Reece and Co., was our second place, $5,000 winner and recipient of the $2,000 Alan Hall Outstanding Salesperson award for this year's s4 competition. In addition, Kiana was also the winner of the SUU Opportunity Quest 2020 and the Lassonde People’s Choice Award 2020. Kiana had an interest in creating items/accessories for other women. What started as a homemade tassel for her personal handbag, along with a single post to her instagram, would quickly launch Reece and Co., and turn this education major into a successful entrepreneur. Congrats, Kiana!

$500 Recipients and Honorable Mentions: Austin Spencer-EZfeeed, Kadan Westra-Baby Bear Outfitters, Kaelei Korbridge-KJ Event Solutions.