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The Northwest Entrepreneur Competition (NEC) is the second largest business plan competition in Washington State and the largest collaborative business plan competition in our region. The competition welcomes between 60-100 student team submissions each year from seven institutions of higher learning. The competition has been a part of the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem for more than 15 years and includes categories that integrate college student ideas, community member involvement and ways for high school students to participate. The NEC is community supported; more than 30 businessmen and women serve as judges and multiple organizations who value and support entrepreneurship in the Spokane community sustain the competition as sponsors.


The Northwest Entrepreneur Competition seeks to:

  • Provide students and their teams with constructive feedback and encouragement to proceed with building a sustainable enterprise based on their submitted business plan. 

  • Be a competitive and compelling launch pad for student teams who wish to continue on the regional and national business plan circuit. 

  • Create businesses that will directly benefit the Inland Northwest region through increased economic impact and employment opportunities. 

Lee & Hayes supports the Northwest Entrepreneur Competition because it is one of the premier startup events in our region. We have seen promising businesses launch after seeing success at the Competition – real businesses that are now providing jobs in our community and beyond. Every student team with a business idea should consider entering the Northwest Entrepreneur Competition. This is one of the best ways to prepare to launch your business, get exposure to regional business leaders and investors, and potentially win some money to make your business idea a reality
— Dan Wadkins, Partner, Lee & Hayes, PLLC