Ogden already fashions itself as a mecca for outdoor-recreation companies, and it's looking to enhance that image with a contest believed to be the first of its type.

The "Concept to Company" contest features a $20,000 top prize for a product or service idea that applies to outdoor recreation. The contest is open to any Utah-based inventor or small business with less than $5 million in annual revenues.

"Ogden has gained a reputation as an outdoor industry-friendly town," Ogden Mayor Matthew R. Godfrey said in announcing the contest. "We want to further that reputation by encouraging creativity and product development that could impact a wide range of sports."

The contest's primary sponsors are Grow Utah Ventures, Zions Bank and the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative. Other sponsors include Amer Sports Winter & Outdoor, Backcountry.com, Black Diamond Equipment Ltd., Deer Valley Resort, Descente North America, Goode, Mountain to Metro, Ogden city, the Outdoor Industry Association, Ogden Climbing Park, Petzl America, Rossignol Group North America and SEED Weber Davis Morgan.

Ideas submitted for the contest should focus on skiing, snowboarding, cycling, climbing, hiking, paddling and other nonmotorized, nonfishing or nonhunting sports, organizers said. The idea or invention must not yet be introduced into the market and must have no sales revenue.

"There are a number of product-innovation contests around the country, but to the best of our knowledge, this is the first and only one to foster new ideas in outdoor recreation," said Curt Roberts, northern Utah regional technology outreach director for the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative. "We look forward to working with the winners to help them turn their concept into sales revenue, or better yet, into a company."

A panel of outdoor-industry experts will evaluate ideas based on innovation and marketability. The winning entry will receive a $20,000 award consisting of cash and the equivalent value in consulting or prototyping services to help bring the idea to fruition. Two runner-up winners will receive $10,000 awards of cash and services. The winners will be announced Sept. 27 as part of the city's "Mountain to Metro" festival.

"Contest winners will get a lot of attention from the outdoor-recreation industry, and that could lead to increased opportunities in licensing or in the actual launch of some new businesses, which is our ultimate goal," T. Craig Bott, president of Grow Utah Ventures, said in a prepared statement.

Contest rules and an application form are available at www.launchutah.com/concepttocompany.php. The deadline is Aug. 30.

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