Thirty Student Entrepreneurs Compete in UK Venture Challenge
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 22, 2013) — University of Kentucky undergraduate and graduate student entrepreneur teams pitched their ideas for potential startup ventures during UK Venture Challenge Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Davis Marksbury Building.
David Booth and Tommy Crush won top undergraduate team for their Personal Concierge by Crambu real-time platform for the hotel industry. MBA students Jordan Denny, Lee Goatley, Jarrod Willis, and Jordan Laycock with TerraCast Technologies won best graduate team for their plan to reclaim mountaintop sites by growing switchgrass for biofuel production.
The second place undergraduate idea came from Matt Dieruff, who has a new design for a type of screw specifically for industries that require both routine maintenance and coatings to protect the screws during operation. On the graduate side, the EARlyTAG team of MBA students Kaitlyn Foree, Jeffrey Billion, Nathan Miles, William Templeton, and agricultural economics junior Alex Hart want to dramatically reduce costs related to livestock illness with new symptom-detection technology.
Each of these teams will share scholarships totaling $3,000 from the Bluegrass Business Development Partnership, including the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Commerce Lexington, and the University of Kentucky.
“UK Venture Challenge gives our students the opportunity to show off their innovative and entrepreneurial spirit while they gain experience in developing a potential venture and pitching to judges,” said Dan O’Hair, chair of iNET, the UK Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking, dean of the College of Communication and Information, and interim senior vice provost for student success.
New for UK Venture Challenge, now in its second year, was an online public voting feature. Sydney Reeder and her concept for an outdoor experience-based sporting goods store won with 4,898 votes. Sydney will receive a $50 scholarship from iNET.
Find out more about the teams at the UK Venture Challenge voting site.
The student teams were judged on their written concept or business plan prior to their presentations on Feb. 16. Judges for the undergraduate finals and graduate teams were: Kirsten Craft, Executive Vice President for Software & Consulting, SIS; Lee T. Todd Jr., former UK President; and Matthew J. Wiley, CEO/Founder, uHAPS Media. Judging the undergraduate teams were: Len Heller former UK Vice President, Commercialization & Economic Development; Derek Lane iNET Academic Director and associate professor in the, College of Communication & Information; Charles H. Seal, investor and financial management and business development consultant; and Harvie Wilkinson, MBA Director and Director of the Executive Education Center, UK Gatton College of Business & Economics.
Four top Venture Challenge teams will represent UK at the state business competition, Idea State U, April 12-13 at the Lexington Center.
UK Venture Challenge is organized by iNET, the Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking that includes the Entrepreneur in Residence, in cooperation with the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship, the College of Engineering, the Gatton College of Business & Economics, and other iNET partners.