Competitors selected for $250,000 CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge

121713_FEATUREBOX2_IMAGE_BLUE_OCEANTwenty-eight competitors in the 2015 Colorado State University Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge, one of the nation’s richest business pitch competitions, have been selected to pitch their business ideas for a grand prize package of $250,000 in cash and a 12-month business mentoring program. The competitors, who will come to campus in May for the event, were selected from more than 130 applications and represent 15 industry categories, three Colorado universities, and five states.

Thirteen Collegiate Track competitors will pitch their businesses to a panel of high-profile judges on May 27, and 15 Enterprise Track competitors — all established startups — will compete on May 29-30. The winner of the Collegiate Track will receive $20,000 in cash, business mentoring, and a slot to compete in the Enterprise Track for a grand prize of $250,000. All events will be held at CSU and are free and open to the public.

Collegiate Track competitors

Enterprise Track competitors

“The quality, innovation, and creativity represented by applicants of the second annual CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge exceeded our expectations,” said Christine Chin, interim director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship in the CSU College of Business and co-director of the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge. “The competitors exemplify the entrepreneurial passions and game-changing ideas that are driving our growing economy, and we look forward to their pitches.”

The competition is presented by Blue Ocean Enterprises and Colorado State University, with major support from Hewlett-Packard, ViaWest, 1st Bank, City of Fort Collins, Otterbox, Growth Curve Institute, Ethos 3, Nerdy Mind, and EKS&H.

Keynote speaker Jeff Hoffman

Jeff Hoffman, successful entrepreneur, global business adviser, and motivational speaker will deliver the competition’s keynote address on May 30 on the topic of innovation, entrepreneurship, and business leadership. He will also serve as a judge for the Enterprise Track competition.

Hoffman has served as CEO of numerous public and private companies and has been part of well-known companies including,, CTI, ColorJar, and more. He supports entrepreneurs and small businesses around the world, serving on the global advisory boards of Global Entrepreneurship Week, the U.S. State Department’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology Program, the APEC Startup Initiative, and many others. He supports the White House, the State Department, USAID, and other international organizations on economic growth initiatives and entrepreneurship programs.

Showcase events

In addition to the live, on-stage competition in front of a panel of expert judges, the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge will feature a number of events that showcase entrepreneurship, including:

  • Youth Entrepreneur Showcase, featuring a panel of young entrepreneurs and the Larimer County Entrepreneurial Youth Tournament.
  • Trolley Pitch Competition, a variation on the elevator pitch that takes place on the historic Fort Collins Trolley; Collegiate Track competitors have the time it takes to travel from one trolley stop to the next to pitch their business in front of judges, over the roar of the engines, the clang of the bells – and while moving backwards.
  • Social events and more.

Learn more and contact competition organizers.