FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 24, 2012) –
A student from Murray State University has won an award in the Cabinet for Economic Development’s fifth annual statewide
student business plan competition. The competition, called “Idea State U,” is designed to help identify and support the next
generation of Kentucky innovators and entrepreneurs.
“I congratulate the winners and applaud the efforts of all who participated in the Idea State U competition,” said Gov.
Steve Beshear. “This type of innovative and entrepreneurial spirit will play a key role in future economic development.
We wish these students the best as they pursue their dreams of putting these promising business plans into action.”
In the undergraduate division, Brenon K. Conn took second place in the business plan category, receiving a cash prize of
$7,355. His proposed venture, Digicritis.com, is an online service for commercial, collegiate and professional artists
to link their talents to consumers.
Additional Murray State University students participating in the competition included the team of Sarah Almaroad, Darcie
Smotherman and Ella Garnett. Their proposed venture, Perfect Day, is a formal wear provider and specializes in event
planning services, from weddings to children’s parties to business luncheons of every size.
Murray State University students, with the help of team advisor Steve Dublin, spent months developing their business concepts.
“This is a great opportunity for any student looking to launch a business,” said Steve Dublin, senior lecturer in the Department
of Management, Marketing and Business Administration. “To be successful, you certainly have to know your business and industry
inside and out, and competing at the state level at Idea State U forces students to raise the bar. The competition, the experience
of presenting and the feedback received from the judges are so valuable to these students. By competing in Idea State U, students
greatly enhance their chances of business success.”
Students from Murray State University were among more than 70 participants in the competition. In all, “Idea State U” featured
10 teams of graduate students and 14 teams of undergraduates from seven of Kentucky’s public universities.
Approximately $100,000 in prizes was awarded to student teams who conceived or developed plans for new Kentucky companies.
Cash prizes were weighted to provide larger awards to those teams whose entries are more fully developed and therefore more likely
to succeed in the real world. This emphasis on readiness to compete in the marketplace offers the greatest opportunity to earn a return
on the state's investment by creating real companies that provide real jobs for Kentuckians.
The Cabinet hosts the “Idea State U” competition to encourage a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that will help sustain
Kentucky’s future economy in the global marketplace. The $100,000 in cash awards makes Kentucky’s “Idea State U” one of the nation’s
top state-sponsored business plan competitions.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency in Kentucky responsible for
creating new jobs and new investment in the state. New business investment in Kentucky in 2010 totaled
more than $2 billion with the creation of nearly 11,900 new jobs. Information on available development
sites, workforce training,incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other
resources is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.