UK Student Entrepreneurs Win $19,000 at Idea State U Competition
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 16, 2014) —Three UK undergraduate and graduate student entrepreneur teams won a total $19,000 at the Cabinet for Economic Development’s Idea State U competition last weekend.
Twenty-six teams, comprising more than 80 undergraduate and graduate students from seven Kentucky public universities, the University of Pikeville and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, participated in Idea State U. With the help of faculty advisors, students spent months developing business concepts or formal business plans, which were presented to panels of business experts serving as volunteer judges.
“I was impressed by the professionalism and the seriousness of the students and their advisors,” said judge and local angel investor David Goodnight. “Every single student that I engaged was passionate about his or her ideas. Each one of the business plans and concepts can work — and many of them will — which will produce meaningful products, jobs and money.”
UK team Shouter, computer science seniors Josiah Hanna, Charlie Effinger and Craig Schmidt, won third place in the undergraduate business plan category for their social media mobile application. They were also the top undergraduate team in the UK Venture Challenge.
“Venture Challenge has really opened our eyes to the world beyond our technical field. For most of our time as undergraduates we've only approached software development from the technical viewpoint,” said Shouter team leader Josiah Hanna. “Now we are asking, ‘how can we make this something people will use?’ Venture Challenge and Idea State U have shown that creating a startup is much more than just having a great, original idea. It’s putting in the work to make it happen and adapting to provide something your customers want.”
Venture Challenge graduate winners MosquitoTech and MBA candidates Alex Blasingame, Justin Johnson and Rob Arnold won second best graduate business plan team in the state. They presented a plan for an environmentally responsible product to control and eliminate the Asian tiger mosquito using UK researcher and medical and veterinary entomology Professor Stephen Dobson’s patented technology.
“Participation in the UK Venture Challenge and Idea State U enabled our team to receive professional feedback and new ideas to further develop our business ideas,” said Rob Arnold. “These events gave exposure to our product and enabled us to polish our presentation skills as well as network with many esteemed members of the Lexington community.”
Placing second in graduate concept was Arymza Technologies, Satrio Husodo, molecular and cellular biochemistry Ph.D. candidate; and MBA candidates Erica Clark and Miguel Doughlin.
Arymza targets the $15 billion starch market using new enzyme technology developed by UK molecular and cellular biochemistry researchers Matthew Gentry and Craig Vander Kooi that makes it easier to process starch.
Miguel Doughlin said “Embedded in the entrepreneurial process is the ability to calculate risk and execute on an idea which you are passionate about. Venture Challenge and Idea State U present opportunities for students to practice communicating rich ideas to peers, judges and potential investors in the hope of one day fulfilling their dream to own and manage a business.”
“Events like Venture Challenge and Idea State U are opportunities for students to learn about entrepreneurship outside of the classroom. I grasp concepts infinitely better through practice, and events like these provide a chance to do just that,” said Erica Clark. “We receive valuable feedback from the judges which helps to further pursue our entrepreneurial passions, and we have opportunities to network with countless amazing people who share these passions.”
“I think the greatest benefit of being able to participate in Venture Challenge and Idea State U is the chance to get your name out there; there really is no better way,” architecture junior Bryan Wright said. He represented UK in the undergraduate business concept category with Reinforcer, a new venture to increase a home’s tolerance to withstand potentially damaging winds using an affordable internal structural system design.
UK advisors for Idea State U are Deb Weis, director of iNET, the Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking hosted by the College of Communication & Information; and Executive Director Dean Harvey and Mariam Gorjian, Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship, Gatton College of Business & Economics.
MEDIA CONTACT: Deb Weis, 859-338-0751, firstname.lastname@example.org; Joe Hall, 502-564-4886