The New Venture Challenge


The Miller New Venture Challenge is a way for BYU students, in any major, to compete with their peers to see who has the most profitable business idea.

Mark Nielson, a second-year MBA student and current NVC event “creator” said the competition offers students various ways to grow as entrepreneurs.

“(The purpose of the competition is) to give students the opportunity to find an idea, refine it and launch a successful business,” said Nielson.

Students sit and listen at the NVC kickoff event. (Photo by Sarah Hill)

Professors and MBA students alike teach that entrepreneurship is a skill that can be learned.

The NVC started the semester with a kickoff event and gave away prizes that were actual products students started from an idea a year ago. Although the kickoff event was last week, students can still get involved.

The Miller NVC puts on three competitions during the year and also includes an investor showcase. Prizes include $145,000 during the series of competitions as well as $40,000 in other “in-kind” prizes.

While being an entrepreneur can seem like an overwhelming and daunting task, it’s just about taking the first step forward, Neilson explained. “Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean risking life, spouse, happiness and your left arm for a chance to do something,” Neilson said.

Neilson also said experiences in entrepreneurship can give people a taste of what creating a business from start to finish is like. “I really love the opportunity to build something meaningful. The liberty of building and designing what I want is most appealing to me.”

David Carruth, a second-year MBA student, agreed that opportunities at BYU, like classes and the NVC competition, give students real-world experience. “You learn in your classes that being an entrepreneur isn’t an easy, get-rich-quick scheme. It’s hard work, and there can be long hours, but as long as it’s something that I enjoy I don’t mind doing the long hours,” Carruth said.

This year one of the biggest resources available to students is venture mentoring. Through this resource, professionals team up with students to help them in their quests to be entrepreneurs.

Jeff Brown assistant director of the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship said, “The venture mentoring services teams with 100 mentors from all sorts of backgrounds many of which have started businesses of their own and want to give back and help the next generation succeed.”

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