The Rosen College of Hospitality Management launched an Entrepreneurship Competition today to help budding entrepreneurs take a hospitality business venture to the next level. Individuals and teams are invited to submit their ideas for a hospitality-related product or service and develop a plan to bring it to market. There must be at least one person currently enrolled at Rosen College per submission to be eligible.

Participants will compete for cash prizes ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 that can assist with startup costs and help make their dreams a reality. Initial submissions are due Monday, Feb. 15 and eight finalists will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 25. The finalists will present their ideas to a panel of judges on Friday, April 15, which will be held at Rosen College and open to the public. The winners will be announced that day.

The competition is sponsored by BlurtBox, a mobile app that helps customers voice their complaints about a business and allows owners and managers to address customers in real time. Julien Meyer, the company’s chief executive officer, is a 2014 UCF graduate who studied hospitality and event management at Rosen College while running his own startup company. He credits his experience at UCF for inspiring his entrepreneurial spirit, which is why he believes it’s important to expose students to all the resources the university community and Orlando have to offer.

“Competitions like this allow students to use the creative side of their brains and do something which is seemingly impossible – turn an idea into a business,” said Meyer. “My hope is that students will gain both insight and connections into the world of entrepreneurship and learn more about the ecosystem that exists for entrepreneurship here in Orlando. Win or lose, these competitions open incredible doors and make building a business 100 times easier.”