Cabinet for Economic Development
Cabinet for Economic Development to Hold Third Annual Student Business Plan Competition

Press Release Date:  Monday, April 19, 2010  
Contact Information:  Mandy Lambert, (502) 564-7670  

More than $100,000 in prizes and awards makes Kentucky event one of nation’s top contests                                               

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 16, 2010) – The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development will host the third annual competition to identify some of the best student entrepreneurs in the state. The “Idea State U” competition involves graduate and undergraduate students attending Kentucky’s public universities. The event provides cash awards to student teams that develop the best business plans and business concepts based on their ideas for innovative products and services.  

All eight of Kentucky’s public universities are sending teams and their advisers to the competition to be held April 16-17, 2010, at the Lexington Convention Center. More than $100,000 in combined prizes and awards will again make the event one of the nation’s largest state-sponsored business plan competitions.  

“It’s amazing how innovative and enthusiastic these young entrepreneurs can be when developing new products and companies,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “The Idea State U competition demonstrates that Kentucky understands the need to support our students’ budding business ventures to help them learn the ropes so they can then grow and prosper.”  

The competition will begin at 4:30 p.m. EDT today, Friday, April 16, at which time the public will be invited to observe the “elevator pitch” contest at the Lexington Convention Center. One member from each team will summarize, or “pitch,” their business concept or business plan in 60 seconds or less before a panel of volunteer judges. The elevator pitch winners will be announced that evening. Table-top exhibits created by each team to illustrate their concept or plan will also be on display. 

On Saturday morning, April 17, all teams will return to the Convention Center to deliver oral presentations about their proposed business ventures. During this event, up to five members from each team will deliver a 15-minute formal presentation supported by audio-visual images and data, followed by a 10-minute question and answer session with the judges. Winners of the overall competition will be announced Saturday at approximately 2:30 p.m. EDT after the conclusion of the oral presentations. 

“Until this competition began in 2008, there was little incentive at some of our universities for their students to develop an idea for a new business and then write a plan about how to make their venture a reality,” said Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes. “The Cabinet for Economic Development sponsors this event because we want and need these students to exercise their competitive natures, not just in sports, but in the business world too. They can help make all of Kentucky more competitive in the global market.”  

Prior to the state-level competition, only a few of Kentucky’s public universities had programs focused on business plan development, such as the University of Louisville’s Cardinal Challenge and Eastern Kentucky University’s Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards. In response to the 2008 introduction of the state competition, the universities without existing programs introduced their own contests or implemented new entrepreneurship classes and selection processes to develop and choose their teams and entries for Idea State U. 

“Our top performers from the first two competitions have both gone on to form high-tech companies that are creating great jobs for Kentuckians,” said Deborah Clayton, commissioner of the Cabinet’s Department of Commercialization and Innovation, which is planning and coordinating the event. “The Partum Group out of the University of Louisville has a medical device that recently completed its first round of clinical trials. PackStream, last year’s top graduate plan team, has raised over $150,000 from private investors and started signing up customers for its technology that imprints personalized, on-demand consumer marketing for home-delivered packages.”  

Additional information about the Idea State U business concept and business plan competition is available online at the competition Web site: 

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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