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Utah Rural Summit & Southern Utah Speed Pitch Helping Rural Business Dreams Come True

Published: June 12, 2020 | Author: Haven Scott | Category: Community Outreach

Utah Rural Summit & Southern Utah Speed Pitch

The Utah Rural Summit, currently the longest running rural economic and community development summit in the nation, returns to the campus of Southern Utah University on Oct. 6-7, 2020 bringing business, education, government and politicians together to collaborate and innovate. And making its way back to the conference stage is the Southern Utah Speed Pitch competition, where rural Utah entrepreneurs pitch business ideas and compete for prize money, resources and business support.

Also this year, Utah Rural Summit announced a new partnership between Southern Utah University, The Larry H. & Gail Miller Center for Entrepreneurship, Utah’s Governor Office, State Bank of Southern Utah, and Snow College to expand entrepreneurial development throughout more rural areas of the state.

“I’ve challenged our state to work in a unified way to ensure we added 25,000 new jobs in rural Utah,” said Utah Governor Gary Herbert. “The Utah Rural Summit has shown that it’s the place where we are seeing innovation towards this goal. The Southern Utah Speed Pitch is just one of those innovations that will support Utah’s rural communities with economic growth.”

The Southern Utah Speed Pitch competition was created at last year’s summit to encourage and support local business ideas and innovations that are in their early stages. The competition helps to identify and support high-potential early-stage businesses and business ideas. With cash prizes and additional awards, all entrepreneurs who meet the criteria are encouraged to consider entering the competition to have their idea heard, evaluated and receive feedback from professionals.

“The Utah Rural Summit continues to be the premier summit that showcases innovation and demonstrates how to put it into action,” said Executive Director at Southern Utah University’s Office of Regional Services, Stephen Lisonbee. “The Southern Utah Speed Pitch brings the partnerships together to support local economic development.”

Previous winners include the Mad Freight app for local deliveries and Geode Swimwear, which features modest women's swimwear. Since last year’s competition, Mad Freight has attracted significant investment and GeodeSwimwear is approaching sales of 1,000 units per month. The 2020 Southern Utah Speed Pitch competition is open to legal residents of Iron, Beaver, Garfield, Juab, Millard, Sanpete, Piute, Wayne, Sevier and KaneCounties and all SUU, Southwest Tech and Snow College students.

“Educating and mentoring entrepreneurs in gaining practical, real-world, business creation experience is at the foundation of our mission,” said Jon Black, SUU Entrepreneur Leadership Council chair. “Working with rural communities through this partnership will enable us to have a greater impact on Utah’s rural economy.”

With the new Snow College partnership, SUU’s Business Resource Center, Small Business DevelopmentCenter, The Larry H. and Gail Miller Center for Entrepreneurship, and SUU’s Entrepreneur Leadership Council will be joining forces with the Snow College GRIT Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, as well as State Bank of southern Utah who provides branches and resources for small businesses in every participating county.

“This partnership helps State Bank of Southern Utah support the creation of new businesses that will generate jobs and economic development,” said SBSU President and CEO Eric Schmutz. “With representatives from the bank in each participating county, our goal is to help create more jobs and educational opportunities in rural Utah for the families that live here.”

For more information about the Utah Rural Summit visit suu.edu/urs. For more information about the Southern Utah Speed Pitch competition, visit suu.edu/speedpitch.


The Utah Rural Summit is the premier rural summit with a rich history of convening Utah’s top leaders and decision-makers to influence the economic viability of rural Utah. Hosted in Cedar City on Southern UtahUniversity’s campus, the summit provides the ideal platform where partnerships will discuss some of the most influential topics impacting rural Utah.


Tags: Community and Professional Development Utah Rural Summit

Contact Information:

Haven Scott
(435) 233-4657