Alan Hall spearheads $1M business contest

Tuesday , March 13, 2012 - 3:43 PM

Paul Foy

SALT LAKE CITY— A Utah lip balm maker that treats kissing couples to a pleasant sensation is the type of standout business concept Utah business leaders are looking for in a $1 million contest announced Tuesday.

Kisstixx sells compatible lip balm flavors like Fire & Ice, Sweet & Sour, and Peaches & Cream that create a surprising change of flavor when they come together.

It plans to enter the Grow America Springboard contest, which is open to all Utah residents with little more than a good business idea. They could win $250,000 in cash and business services for a startup or company expansion.

"We believe we can kick-start the economy," said Alan E. Hall,contest organizer and managing director of the Utah capital venture firm Mercato Partners.

"It could be a mom with a hobby or a farmer with a new idea," Hall said at Zions Bank tower in downtown Salt Lake City. Hall writes a weekly column in the Standard-Examiner called "Launching Business."

Zions Bancorp and a pair of Comcast Corp. divisions are among the contest’s sponsors.

The businesses backing the competition needed little persuading, said Steve Lindsley, a regional vice president for Comcast Spotlight, the advertising arm of Comcast Cable.

"This is fantastic while Washington, D.C., bickers and dickers and can’t get anything done," he said.

Added Kent Crawford, general manager of Salt Lake City’s KUTV, "We just said, ‘Yeah, we’re all over this."’

Other sponsors are the Utah Jazz and KJZZ-TV.

Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire Mark Cuban liked Kisstixx so much he invested $200,000 in the Orem company, which was featured on the ABC business financing show "Shark Tank."

Another Utah startup cited by contest organizers Tuesday was Layton-based tukious, an online service that says it can help assemble memorial videos in as little as two minutes.

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Online:

Grow America Springboard: http://growam.com

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