Learn, Compete & Win Funding!

The Avista Entrepreneurial Competition (AEC) is open to all students of Eastern as well as their peers at all other local universities, colleges, and high schools in the Inland Pacific Northwest. Per the request of the founder Herbert B Jones Foundation, and sponsor Avista, the AEC has been revamped by emphasizing completeness of business in the vein of the Eagles Startup Challenge. The AEC strives to help entrepreneurs enter the local economy with a complete and functional business that will succeed in the real world.

Funds, mentoring, and facilities are provided to assist participating teams move through the program and gain valuable insight on various aspects of running a business, such as prototyping, contacting potential customers, and the legal requirements of registration and opening a corporate bank account

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Competition Phases

Throughout the Avista Entrepreneur Competition, you’ll have access to weekly learning sessions and workshops taught by members of the Spokane entrepreneurial ecosystem. These sessions will be hosted at the Downtown Spokane City Library and telecast via Zoom for those unable to attend in-person. Sessions begin in February 2023 and will prepare you to compete in the main phases of the competition:Phase I – $250 for Each WinnerExpand

March 7th, 2024 | 2-minute elevator pitches: speed dating format

  • Expectation: Pitch for 2 minutes to judges with an idea and clear proposition, and receive 7 minutes of feedback.
  • All participants receive a prize!
  • Free food and drinks!
  • All participants receive a certificate of completion for Stage 1 of the Idea & Value Proposition Challenge!
  • Winners of the elevator pitch get $250 for the trade show in Phase II

Top teams will advance to Stage 2, gaining access to 3D printing and other prototyping resources. Phase II – $1,000 for Each Winner

April 11th, 2024 | Trade show presentation

  • Expectations:
    • Visual display and poster session presentation of your updated business idea to judges.
    • Knowledge of market
    • Basic feasibility analysis
  • Mentors available for on-the-fly assistance
  • All participants receive a certificate of completion for Stage 2 of The Product/Service Design Challenge
  • Winners of the Trade Show receive $1000 to register a business and proceed to Phase III

May 30th, 2024 | “Shark Tank” style finals

Phase III – $55,000+ Prize Pool will be awarded

Have questions?

Email us at entp-center@ewu.edu.

  • Expectations:
    • Mini business plan or full executive summary
    • Prototype or well-developed design for business/product/service
    • Evidence of customer discovery interviews
    • Proof of concept is desirable
    • Evidence of progress throughout the competition.
    • Applicants will ideally gain access to one or more mentors who have developed an interest in the project.
    • At least two members of the team will be invited to attend a Spokane Angel Alliance lunch.

Have questions?

Email us at entp-center@ewu.edu.


Sponsored by Avista

This entrepreneur competition is made possible by generous support from Avista. We’re grateful for their dedication to promoting growth and innovation in small businesses!