FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 25, 2016) – Developers of an app to help people find workout partners and inventors of a waterproof swimwear liner for women each took first place in their categories this weekend during the ninth annual Idea State U finals held in Lexington.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s Office of Entrepreneurship, in partnership with the Kentucky Innovation Network, sponsor and organize Idea State U, a statewide business plan competition that encourages entrepreneurism among Kentucky’s college and university students.
This year’s top-placed teams were among a record 51 entrants, which represented 18 Kentucky colleges and universities participating. Beginning in March, four preliminary rounds whittled those teams to 31 for the two-day final event held at Griffin Gate Marriott in Lexington on Friday and Saturday, April 22-23. Each team presented its business concept to a panel of judges for the opportunity to earn a share of a $100,000 prize pool.
This year’s Idea State U competition boasted the most diverse group of participants to date. The top eight finishers – four in each of two categories - included seven colleges and universities. Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton gave the keynote address on Saturday at the awards ceremony.
MoveMe, a team from the University of Louisville College of Business, took home first place in the Business Plan category and $25,000. It is a mobile application that matches users with potential workout partners based on compatible fitness activities, levels and goals. Based on feedback from more than 200 interviewees the app’s developers recognized exercise is most effective with others, and partners promote accountability and competition. The MoveMe app provides helps users find a workout partner with shared interests, skills and availability.
Hydrosure, a team representing Owensboro Community and Technical College, earned first place in the Business Model category. The team is made up of homeschooled high school students who are on pace to earn an associate’s degree before they even attain their high school diplomas. The company aims to provide a waterproof swimwear liner for women, as the current market of disposable products with waterproof protection is limited.
Second through fourth-place Business Plan category finishers include:
- Raptor Adapter (Hopkinsville Community and Technical College) – The Ethridge HB4 Raptor Adaptor provides a solution for shotgun stabilization for wild turkey hunters. The product allows hunters to use collapsible, fixed bipods – typically reserved for use on rifles – on shotguns.
- Simple Circle (Eastern Kentucky University) – Simple Circle provides an easy solution to drawing a perfect circle using a central stake and retractable tension line coupled with a sand distributor. The product would give PGA professionals, golf facilities and golfers at large the ability to draw accurate and temporary circles around golf holes for practice, instruction and competition.
- RaceAssured (University of Kentucky) – RaceAssured provides a solution for racehorse injury prevention without the need for FDA approval. The company offers a subscription-based service with the use of a blood test that evaluates the levels of 11 inflammation biomarkers, which exhibit a level spike when the horse is at increased risk of injury. The technology forecasts injuries before the traditional indications – heat, inflammation and pain – occur.
Second through fourth-place finishers in the Business Model category include:
- Bison Adventure Gear (Lindsey Wilson College) – Bison Adventure Gear uses upcycled materials, specifically old whitewater rafts, to manufacture outdoor equipment such as backpacks, dry bags and duffle bags. This allows for product waste within the outdoor industry to be made into new products.
- Salute (University of Pikeville) – Salute is a nutraceutical, or foods with a medicinal benefit, water beverage company. The product is designed to extend beneficial effects at least seven times longer than conventional antioxidants. The company targets health-conscious consumers with a water that significantly impacts health but leaves out unnecessary ingredients like sugar.
- Mow Mi (Eastern Kentucky University) – Mow Mi connects buyers with sellers to provide same-day lawn care service for a minimum of a quarter acre up to three acres at an affordable rate with an easy-to-use mobile application. The company addresses three problems in the lawn service industry: scheduling convenient appointments, finding a lawn servicer and avoiding expensive contracts.
Student teams will continue to work with the Kentucky Innovation Network to pursue their business goals. Consisting of 13 offices throughout the state, the Kentucky Innovation Network helps entrepreneurs and small business owners at any stage – whether just starting with an idea or already operating an established business – to provide planning, guidance, access to capital, business connections and other resources.
The Idea State U competition is open to all post-secondary institutions in the Commonwealth. It identifies and supports the next generation of Kentucky innovators and entrepreneurs. This year’s list of entrants reveals a spike in participation from community and technical colleges across the state. Schools participating for the first time include Ashland Community and Technical College, Big Sandy Community and Technical College, Centre College, Hopkinsville Community College, Madisonville Community College, Sullivan University and Asbury University.
The Office of Entrepreneurship provides an array of services, programs and initiatives to encourage small business growth across Kentucky. The Office works to coordinate the state’s focus and efforts in creating and promoting a strong culture of entrepreneurship.
For more information about Idea State U, visit www.IdeaStateU.com.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency responsible for encouraging new jobs and investment in the state. New capital investment announced in Kentucky in 2017 totaled a state record $9.2 billion, spurring more than 17,200 projected new jobs. Information on available industrial properties, workforce development assistance, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other economic development resources is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.