Barrett Foundation Business Concept Challenge


The National Forest Foundation established the Barrett Foundation Business Concept Challenge to encourage and reward innovative market-based solutions to natural resource issues affecting National Forests and Grasslands and to cultivate a new generation of entrepreneurial natural resource and business leaders. The Challenge offers an interactive learning experience for interdisciplinary teams, as well as an opportunity to develop and launch new business ventures to address natural resource issues. The Challenge provides a unique opportunity to develop and implement investable ideas with tangible benefits for National Forests and Grasslands.

The Barrett Foundation Business Concept Challenge offers a $75,000 cash award to the winning submission and a $25,000 cash award to the first runner-up in the final stage of the competition. Through a multi-step evaluation process, each team participating in the Challenge develops and articulates a market-based strategy and measurable objectives for addressing a natural resource issue affecting the U.S. National Forests and Grasslands. The business concept must reflect real opportunities and address financial, operational, and organizational aspects of implementation. The finalist teams will make presentations to a judging panel of diverse national experts and receive feedback on the feasibility of their projects; winning teams will be introduced to venture capital professionals to explore opportunities to fund implementation of their concepts.


Competition Organizer

National Forest Foundation

Local US Event
Missoula, MT
*Available in all states*

Submission Date


Business Plan Submission Date


Awards Date


Total Prize Cash (US Dollars)


Competition Category
  • Graduate - All U.S.
  • Undergraduate - All U.S.
  • Business - All U.S.
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Technology - Green
  • Technology - Other
  • Specialized Industries
Who's Eligible

The Challenge is open to teams that include at least two currently enrolled undergraduate, graduate, or post-doctoral students in nationally accredited colleges and universities. Participation is not limited to students; thus, teams may include recent graduates and others interested in pursuing an innovative idea to fruition.
Teams should be interdisciplinary, and may include members from different educational institutions. Each individual may participate in only one team. Teams may but are not required to work with an academic or business advisor to guide the team in its development of the project and provide team members with access to information and peer support.

Important Dates

March 17, 2014: online preproposals due

August 25, 2014: final business concept due

Competition Prizes

The winning team will receive $75,000 in cash and the runner-up team will receive $25,000. Checks will be divided between, and written to team members according to their specifications. Note that these awards are taxable and that the National Forest Foundation will require all award recipients’ Social Security numbers as a condition of payment. Each team winning a cash award will have the sole responsibility for deciding how to allocate or otherwise use these proceeds. The organizers of the Challenge will not become involved, either voluntarily or by request, in a team's decision concerning the allocation or use of cash awards.