Home to digital media and gaming giants like Adobe, Electronic Arts, Disney Interactive and Smart Bomb Interactive, Utah has rapidly become known for its vibrant digital media and entertainment industry. This continued growth has created the perfect setting for Grow Utah’s 2014 Concept to Company Game Development competition, also known as Utah Game Wars.

The Utah Game Wars is organized and hosted by Grow Utah, the Utah Valley University (UVU) Business Resource Center and Zions Bank. Supporting sponsors of the contest are the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative (USTAR) and the Digital Media UCAP project. Salt Lake ComiCon is also in support of the contest and will feature the winners at their gaming pavilion at their September convention.

Utah Game Wars focuses on new game development driven by innovators and entrepreneurs, and will award three cash prizes for the best new games. Applications for the contest will be accepted through Aug. 17. The cash prize of $22,500 ($11,000 for the grand prize, $5,500 for each runner up, and $500 for the crowd favorite) is provided by Grow Utah (www.GrowUtah.com), a non-profit group that accelerates Utah economic expansion through entrepreneurship.

“The goal of Utah Game Wars is to stimulate creativity and job creation in the high-paying digital media and gaming industry here in Utah,” said T. Craig Bott, President and CEO of Grow Utah. “Many studios have grown from small independent shops to major players in Utah over the years and we want to encourage more of the same behavior.”

USTAR and UVU are also important players in the contest. With USTAR’s support, UVU is helping lead the way in developing commercial applications and research in video games, digital media, art, graphics engineering and animation. Peter Jay, associate director of economic development for UVU, and USTAR Central director, says the Utah Game Wars, and the presence of major digital media companies, promotes Utah’s video game and high tech clusters, enabling students graduating from an entertainment arts field to find high-paying jobs.

“There is a strong and growing video game presence in Utah with EA in Salt Lake City and university programs that support video gaming” said Jay. “Utah Game Wars helps promote Utah’s video game and high tech industries, which will make jobs available in the area for students graduating from the programming, video game, art, animation and other degrees from UVU and other Utah universities.”

Contest entries can be a mobile, computer, or console game that can either be fully developed (already selling) or undeveloped (not yet selling). However, all applications must be far enough along to have a beta version or working demo. The contest is open to Utah residents, students and small businesses with less than $5 million in annual revenues.

The ongoing Concept to Company competitions are held in various regions across the State of Utah. The main objectives of the contests are to encourage and support Utah’s entrepreneurial innovators by helping them bring concepts to the marketplace. Competitions are held in all regions of the state with each competition focusing on the unique entrepreneurial strengths of that region. To date, over $775,000 in cash and services have been awarded across 19 different contests.

For more information on the Utah Game Wars, or to apply, visit http://www.ConceptToCompany.org/gaming14.