LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 22, 2017) — Interiors graduate student Marissa Wilson and finance and accounting December graduate Omer Tariq won the University of Kentucky Venture Challenge with their idea for i-Remember, a website and app to help connect, communicate and form personal relationships with people who have memory problems. They will share $1,500 in scholarship prize money and will represent UK at the state competition in April.
Placing second on Saturday at the William T. Young Library auditorium was Kai Zhang, a second year doctoral student in pharmacology. Zhang won $1,000 for Welcome Home, a service to assist international students in finding housing before they arrive in the United States.
Third place and $500 went to the UNi Software team of Xi “Bill” Chen, biochemistry and statistics; Tom Johnston, communication and media studies at Georgetown College; Charles Smith, mechanical engineering; and Randall Smith, English. They are developing an app that will unify higher education communication through a personalized platform.
All three winning teams will go on to Idea State U, the state competition.
“I want to congratulate these three winning teams, all of whom were participants in the UK Venture Studio Entrepreneurial Bootcamp this past fall,” said Warren Nash, executive director of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship. “I also want to commend each of the teams competing in the UK Venture Challenge. These teams came from varied academic backgrounds within UK and exhibited great passion for their ideas. The judges provided very valuable feedback, which I hope all of the teams will utilize as they continue their entrepreneurial journey.”
Chandni Joshi, a chemical engineering student at the UK Paducah Campus, won $50 for the most online votes. Her venture is The Sustainable Products Company.
Other students in UK Venture challenge included:
- Team GreatJob! – Josh Cochran, accounting and finance; and Will Hibbard, economics;
- Team Impact LEX – Olivia Burkett, Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce;
- Team Pacific Peach – Alex Carrabre, management and marketing; and
- Team Radventurous Rewards – Logan Jones, finance.
Judges included: Jo Ellen Hayden, engineering and industry/government senior manager, Bluegrass Angels; Dan Hollingshead, founder/CEO, Connected Patients; and Joe Noonan, sales leader and entrepreneur/investor, Bluegrass Angels.
UK Venture Challenge is organized by iNET, the Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking in the College of Communication and Information, with the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship and the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network in the Gatton College of Business and Economics.
The Venture Challenge sponsors are: the Bluegrass Business Development Partnership, an economic development partnership between UK, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, and Commerce Lexington; the Gatton College of Business and Economics; and the College of Communication and Information.