Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge changes name, moves finals to Los Angeles

FORT COLLINS – The Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge business pitch competition is leaving its Fort Collins roots and going Hollywood.

Officials for Blue Ocean, the investment company founded by OtterBox founder Curt Richardson and his wife Nancy, announced on Friday afternoon that the $250,000 challenge is being renamed the Capital Championship and aligning with a series of RECESS Music + Ideas Festival events this spring. The finals will be held in Los Angeles, with semifinal events in six different cities around the country, including Denver.

Known the first two years as the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge, BizWest reported in January that Colorado State University was splitting off the collegiate portion of the competition into its own challenge in conjunction with the national expansion of the overall competition.  Blue Ocean’s exact plans for the broader challenge had not been finalized yet at that time, but David Brey, executive director of the Capital Championship, had said then that there was a possibility the competition would be leaving Fort Collins.

Officials for Blue Ocean couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Friday.

The Recess Music + Ideas Festival is a nationwide festival aimed at helping college students make their business ideas come to fruition. The Capital Challenge will be an added feature of the Recess festivities this year, with the semifinal business pitch events followed by concerts in the evening.

Semifinal competitions for the Capital Championship will be held in Boston on April 18, Philadelphia on April 19, Chicago on April 22, Denver on April 23, St. Louis on April 26, and Los Angeles on a date to be determined. The finals will be held in Los Angeles June 8-10.

Winners from each semifinal, as well as from an online semifinal competition, will gather in Los Angeles to gain mentorship and make industry connections before pitching to venture capitalists and investors and competing for the $250,000 grand prize. The winner of CSU’s Collegiate Challenge – a competition open to college students from 10 states – will earn a spot to compete in the Capital Championship online semifinal.

“We are excited to expand the reach of Capital Championship as a national tournament, while continuing to support Colorado entrepreneurs,” Brey said in a press release.

The application period for the six regional semifinal events is open through March 27 at www.capitalchampionship.com. Competitors can pre-qualify for the online semifinals, meanwhile, through April 30.