Bryce Peterson and Valerie Quirk, co-founders of The Great Untold EDU and winners of THE CLIMB Spring 2021, have a few pieces of advice for those interested in competing in this fall’s THE CLIMB SUMMIT, the 20th anniversary of CU Denver’s Jake Jabs Business Plan Competition.
By Danika Gutierrez
Entrepreneurs, are you planning to start a business soon? Do you have a business idea but you’re not sure where to start? THE CLIMB might be for you!
THE CLIMB is an annual business development event series and competition for collegiate startups based in Colorado. It is designed to help students and future entrepreneurs transform concepts into viable businesses through educational workshops, mentorship, financial support, and real-world industry exchanges. Winners receive cash and in-kind prizes to put toward their ideas and grow their businesses.
This fall’s THE CLIMB SUMMIT marks the competition’s 20th year of guiding entrepreneurial thinkers to blaze their own trail and reach their peak potential. THE CLIMB’s most recent winners, Bryce Peterson and Valerie Quirk, turned their business idea, The Great Untold EDU, into a reality through last spring’s competition and this summer’s JUMP Incubator Program.
Bryce is an MBA candidate who first learned about THE CLIMB from his CU Denver class ENTP 6020 – Business Model Planning and Development. Both Bryce and Valerie discussed building a business in the EdTech space for quite some time and felt that participating in THE CLIMB would give their idea a chance to succeed. While there’s typically a lot of uncertainty when it comes to starting a business, THE CLIMB challenged the two entrepreneurs to flesh out their idea, turn it into a solid plan, and then present it in a four-minute pitch.
“We prepared a lot for THE CLIMB, so when the day came for the final pitch and Q&A, we were mostly just excited,” said Valerie. “Knowing that most startups fail, it’s a vulnerable position to put yourself out there and say out loud that you want to start a business, but it’s also incredibly freeing. Now that we as founders and our business is out in the world, we’re more motivated than ever to execute.”
Winning THE CLIMB motivated them to take their business plan to the next level, which is when they participated in the Jake Jabs Center’s JUMP Incubator program in Summer 2021 and gained valuable advice and mentorship from other entrepreneurs. The program challenged the two entrepreneurs to solidify their central idea even more by answering crucial questions about their mission, vision, and values for The Great Untold EDU, such as “Why?” and “How?”
Bryce and Valerie believe that both THE CLIMB and the JUMP Incubator program equipped them with valuable tools and resources to validate their business ideas and grow it into something tangible. Their advice to those entering THE CLIMB SUMMIT, or debating about it? Just go for it.
“Participation in THE CLIMB forces you to nail down your pitch, prepare for tough questions about your business, and get your idea out in the world,” said Valerie. “In addition to validation, the equity-free funding provided to winners also provides the [means] to get your MVP created or your business off the ground. You have absolutely nothing to lose and so much to gain.”
Currently, Bryce and Valerie are focusing on content development and market testing for their business. Learn more about Bryce’s and Valerie’s business, The Great Untold EDU, at greatuntold.com/edu
Interested in participating or learning more about THE CLIMB SUMMIT? Visit jakejabscenter.org/the-climb