University of Colorado Masters of Business Administration students are hosting the finals of the 12th annual Net Impact Case Competition this weekend with $17,500 in prizes going to the top teams.

NICC is the first student-run business challenge of its kind, organizers said. 

The business competition asks students from universities across the country to pitch a solution to a made-up, but realistic sustainability challenge. 

CU MBA student Mary Frash said teams work closely with the sponsoring companies to come up with solutions. 

"Even though the case is fake, it's based on real problems that companies face," Frash said. "It's a delicate balance of sustainability and business sense for the teams to come up with real, viable solutions."

Sponsoring companies provide information for the case, as well as judges and prize money for the winning team, she said.

This year has been the largest competition so far with 47 teams entering. In a tournament-style judging process, the teams were narrowed down to the top 20, which will visit CU this weekend to give their final presentations before the teams are narrowed down to five and a winner is chosen.

The top teams this year include students from Vanderbilt University, Northwestern University and an institute in Hong Kong.


Mathias Frese, a CU MBA student and competition organizer, said the final round is Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Kolbel building, room S110 and is open to the public.

Frese said CU students began competing in the competition but decided after a couple of years that they should abstain as the host school to make the competition fair.