Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

USU Alumnus Stephen Nielsen Takes Third Place at Entrepreneurial Competition

Out of thousands of participants, USU Alumnus Stephen Nielsen, took third place in the first Grow America Competition in Utah this spring.

Grow America is an organization devoted to growing companies, creating jobs and stimulating the economy by helping to ignite the dreams and fuel the ambitions of real entrepreneurs with real ideas.

Each contestant has three minutes to make their case before a panel of business executives, and then answer follow-up questions for four minutes. They are judged upon a set of criteria such as how good the general idea is, does the contestant have an organized business plan, and the overall quality of the other team members. Grow America then narrows the competition to 12 contestants for the final pitch show which is presented in front of an audience. As well as being judged more critically on the previous criteria, at the final pitch, they are also judged on charisma.

Steve’s business, Geek In A Day, will teach anyone to computer code through a single day seminar. He believes there is a language barrier that exists between IT people and everyone else.

“Developers may charge double or triple if a customer seems tech illiterate, because it’s going to take that much more work to make them happy,” Steve said. “A business person feels stress explaining their needs a developer. They can feel mistrust, because they have no way to gauge the progress of the coder.”

That is where Geek In A Day comes in.

Geek In A Day breaks down these stumbling blocks by providing a framework to understand technology and explain the average person’s needs.

“Business people armed with the right paradigm will save time and money, lead with greater empathy and vision, and achieve success that creates jobs,” Steve said.

Steve won $3,500 to invest in his company because of his idea and presentation. He will spend part of his winnings on resources such as accounting, marketing and the legal technicalities of the business. The other part of the money will go straight into the business itself.

The first Geek In A Day class will be offered August 17, 2012. For more information go to

Steve Nielsen with his third place Grow America trophy.

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