Innovators’ Circle Returning For 2016

Published: May 24, 2016 02:48 pm EDT

The University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program has announced that horse racing's first pitch contest, which gives entrepreneurs a chance to bring change and innovation to the horse racing industry, will return to the Global Symposium on Racing this year.

In 2015, the winner of the Innovators' Circle competition won $15,000 and the contest's finalists earned significant exposure and access to the executives in horse racing.

Founding sponsors BAM Software Services and the United States Trotting Association are sponsoring the 2016 competition as well.

Finalists in this year's Innovators' Circle competition will pitch their ideas to the judges at the Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming to be held December 5-7.

The Innovators' Circle was born out of the belief that developing and nurturing innovative ideas for horse racing, which is steeped in tradition, can be difficult and expensive.

Technology and new business concepts touch every part of the horse racing industry – from different ways to wager on horses to new horse ownership models, wagering platforms, video and data collection. But bringing these new ideas and innovations to market is challenging.

As a result, the Race Track Industry Program at the University of Arizona, along with its partners Hai Ng and Vin Narayanan, launched the Innovators' Circle – a Shark Tank-like pitch competition in 2015.

In 2015, the Innovators' Circle received more than 85 entries from around the world, with four finalists making their pitch to the judges at the Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming in Tucson, Arizona.

Doug Reed, Race Track Industry Program director, stated “Several of last year’s finalist reported to us that they have had tremendous success since the event, expanding their projects or bringing them to market.”

“Last year's competition brought a host of new ideas and energy,” said Ng, one of the event producers. “We're looking forward to seeing more new ideas and entrants this year.”

Like last year, the Innovators' Circle event is open to everyone, not just those already involved in the industry. The contest's website,, provides background on racing and educational tools to help educate the racing newcomers who wish to participate. The Innovators' Circle will begin accepting entries for this year's competition this summer.


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