Skip to main content

The Biggest Entrepreneurial Competition of the Year

The Willes Center for International Entrepreneurship sponsors the 2022 Ed & Shauna Smith Empower Your Dreams Competition. The competition empowers students to build confidence, have experiences, network, expand opportunities, and have a positive impact. There are no registration fees to enter the competition.
The judging will specifically focus on the sustainability of the business principles, the value proposition of the idea, and presentation skills.
Up to $36,000 will be awarded across the categories of Revenue, Pre-Revenue, Social Impact, and Young Entrepreneurs. All students, regardless of class rank or major, are warmly invited to participate.


Hidden image
Empower Your Dreams 2022

Hidden image
Video Submission Explanation

overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection= overrideCardHideByline= overrideCardHideDescription= overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText=

Round Two

Enter Round Two

Judging Criteria

The Revenue, Pre-Revenue, and Young Entrepreneur categories are judged using the same criteria. You can view the actual judging sheet, as well as information about each criteria below. The Social Impact category is judged by a separate set of criteria. If you’re interested in competing in the Social Impact category, then please watch the video below and take a look at the different judging criteria.

Competition Timeline

Dates, times, and venues are subject to change. Participants will be notified as soon as feasible to ensure a fair competition. Refer back to this page as updates are made and check your email frequently to stay up-to-date about changes.

March 16th, 2022

Round 1 - Submission Deadline
Submit by 11:59 pm on the Willes Center website.

March 22nd, 2022

Top Ten Semi-Finalists Notified and Announced

March 28th, 2022

Round 2 - Submission Deadline
Submit by 11:59 pm on the Willes Center website.

Required materials:

  • Business plan.
  • Final Round presentation with an up to 1-minute video embedded. 
  • Tax forms for each team member.

March 31st, 2022

Round 2 - Semi-Finalists Booth Showcase

  • 7:45 am - 8:45 am | Semi-Finals Check-in (Semi-Finalists set up by 8:45am)
  • 9:00 am - 12:00 pm | Private Booth Showcase with Judges
  • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm | Lunch provided for Semi-Finalists
  • 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm | Booth Showcase for students and visitors
  • 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm | Private dinner with judges and Semi-Finalists. FINALISTS will be announced.
    • Each team member can bring one person to attend the dinner and must RSVP. Young Entrepreneurs can bring up to two people.
  •  7:00 pm - 9:00 pm | Presentation rehearsal for Finalists.

April 1st, 2022

Round 3 - Final Presentations and Awards Ceremony
Up to five (5) teams will be chosen to move on from Round Two onto Round Three. The finalists will present a three-minute presentation followed by a two-minute Q&A session by the judges at the PCC Hawaiian Journey Theater.

  • 9:00 am - 12:00 am | Empower Your Dreams Finalist Presentations
  • 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm | Willes Talks
  • 2:30 pm - 3:00 pm | Keynote Speaker
  • 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm | Awards Ceremony
  • 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm | Winners Reception

April 1st, 2022

Winners Announced!


Entry for the competition will become available on February 16th.

The Judges

Driving technology for leading brands

Jack Sim - Global Social Entrepreneur

Jack Sim picture
Jack is a social entrepreneur and founder of the World Toilet Organization (WTO). Born in the slums of Singapore, Jack grew several successful businesses until the age of 40 when he decided to leave the business world and embark on a journey to fight for the dignity, rights and health for the vulnerable and poor worldwide. In 2013, he was able to coordinate with all 193 countries of the UN General Assembly to unanimously adopt November 19th, as the official UN World Toilet Day. In 2014, Jack was appointed Samoa Village Chief with the Matai Title of “Tuifalevao.” Jack is constructing a 65,000 square foot World Trade Center in Singapore to coordinate an effort to end global poverty. His most recent efforts as a crusader for global sanitation led to the Amazon documentary: Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man.

Taimi Kennerley – Founder of The Girls Company

Taimi Kennerly Picture
Taimi grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and first attended BYU Hawaii in 2014. Her love for entrepreneurship was sparked by joining a social entrepreneurship group (ENACTUS) at BYU Hawaii. In 2014 and 2015 she helped lead the student team to a National Championship and later received a degree in Entrepreneurial Management at BYU. During school she co-founded The Girls Company, a company revolutionizing feminine care. The business has grown quickly, winning over $60k in competition money and expanding with national retailers like and Francesca. Taimi is passionate about business creation, and helping others build their own business. In her free time she obsesses over her dog, eats too many chips, and sometimes even sleeps.

Joseph Atkin – Experienced Tech Entrepreneur

Joseph Atkin Picture
Joseph is the former President of Owlet Baby Care, a world leader in infant health monitoring. Previous to Owlet Baby Care, Joe was the Chairman and CEO of GOAL ZERO, the world leader in portable solar products, since joining the company at inception in 2009. He successfully grew revenues from $0 to nearly $40M in four years and led the sale of the company in 2014 to NRG Energy. Prior to joining GOAL ZERO, Joe worked for Sorenson Capital. Joe received his MBA and Bachelors in Economics from Brigham Young University. He is married to Jamie Atkin and they have four children, ages 8 to 14.

Suzanne Calton – Founder of an International Non-Profit

Suzanne moved to Hawaii from China, where she lived for 14 years. She has 5 children, 3 adopted while living in China. She helped find homes for 19 orphaned children in China. She managed private label manufacturing for a decade while mentoring local chinese female entrepreneurs breaching into expat market. She founded of a non-profit breast cancer prevention & recovery organization in China that has broken 4 global Guinness records and just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Suzanne ranked top 40 foreigners of impact in China. She can’t stay out of the kitchen in Pickleball, and loves teaching her morning seminary students.