Cabinet for Economic Development
Cabinet Awards $100,000 in Prizes to State University Students in Business Plan Competition

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, April 21, 2010  
Contact Information:  Mandy Lambert, (502) 564-7670  


University of Louisville graduate team takes top prize

                                               

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 21, 2010) – In the third annual statewide business plan competition held by the Cabinet for Economic Development, 18 teams of university students earned a combined $100,000 in prizes and awards for developing concepts and plans for new business ventures. 

The awards were announced after an intense two-day student competition, called “Idea State U,” held over the weekend at the Lexington Convention Center. The event is designed to help identify and support the next generation of Kentucky innovators and entrepreneurs. 

Over 70 students participated, consisting of six teams of graduate students and 12 teams of undergraduates, representing all eight of Kentucky’s public universities. The schools included the University of Kentucky, Western Kentucky University, Kentucky State University, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Louisville 

Students, with the help of their advisers, spent months developing either business concepts or more formal business plans. On Saturday, those concepts and plans were presented to panels of volunteer business experts who determined the winners. 

“It’s important that we support the development of an entrepreneurial culture throughout Kentucky,” said Larry Hayes, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “Our economy needs the innovative business ventures that these and other young entrepreneurs are creating to produce products and services that will provide future jobs for Kentuckians.” 

Student entries described proposed ventures for a variety of products and services, including a technology that can project interactive touch screens onto windows and other surfaces, an advanced keyboard that continuously scans a user’s fingerprints and typing pattern to authenticate the person’s identity, and a “smart antenna” that dynamically adjusts to environmental variables in order to improve reception of weak signals.

The top cash award – $43,302.63 – was presented to CALMsenior, a team consisting of University of Louisville graduate MBA students headed by Dr. Joseph Rotella M.D., for a business plan to create a private and secure website specially designed to help the elderly maintain their independence and interact with family members. Other top teams in each category included the following proposed ventures: 

  • $8,526.32 to New Grounds Energy (University of Louisville) for a proposed venture to provide installation, maintenance and support for advanced kinetic energy products that generate electricity
  • $5,830.26 to Cuddle Clones (University of Louisville) for a proposed venture to develop the necessary software and production system to create customized stuffed replicas of people’s pets
  • $2,498.68 to Biometric Ease (University of Louisville) for a proposed venture to create an advanced keyboard that continuously scans a user’s fingerprints and typing pattern to authenticate the user’s identity  

In addition to the top four awards, $32,842.11 was distributed to the four second-place teams, which included teams from Western Kentucky University, the University of Kentucky and Morehead State University, along with $2,000 for three adviser prizes. 

The annual Governor’s Innovation Award was also presented to the Biometric Ease team from the University of Louisville. The award is presented for the entry judged to best demonstrate innovative thinking, improve the quality of life for Kentuckians and others, and possess a significant “wow” factor. 

“The first two competitions have already produced new companies that are in the process of refining their products, obtaining private investments, and signing up customers,” said Deborah Clayton, commissioner of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s Department of Commercialization and Innovation. “I am confident that this year’s top teams will also move forward and take the steps necessary to create new businesses and new jobs in the Commonwealth.” 

The competition is designed to educate and reward the top participating student teams from Kentucky’s public universities. With $100,000 in combined cash prizes and awards, Kentucky’s Idea State U is one of the nation’s top state-sponsored business plan competitions. More information is available at www.IdeaStateU.com 

** A complete list of winners is attached CALMsenior Check Presentation.jpg  

 

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PHOTO CAPTION:

CALMsenior, a team consisting of University of Louisville graduate MBA students, took the top prize at the 2010 Idea State U competition for a business plan to create a private and secure website specially designed to help the elderly maintain their independence and interact with family members. From left: Colin Lippy, Matt Wilson, Dr. Joseph Rotella M.D., Aaron Welenken, and Cabinet for Economic Development Commissioner Deborah Clayton. 

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 2009 totaled nearly $ 977 million with the creation of more than 6,600 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.