Student Entrepreneurs Pitch Ideas Feb. 20 at UK Venture Challenge

By Deb Weis

(Feb. 19, 2016) – Creative and innovative University of Kentucky students from across campus will pitch their business concepts at the UK Venture Challenge Saturday, Feb. 20, at the UK Athletics Auditorium in William T. Young Library. The student teams are competing for $3,000 in scholarship prizes and the right to represent UK at the state competition, Idea State U.

The public is invited to attend the presentations, which will begin at 9 a.m. Feb. 20. Winners will be announced at 12:30 p.m.

There is even a way the public can be involved in the Venture Challenge. The most popular student venture, as decided by online voting, will receive a $50 prize. Voting closes at midnight Feb. 19, the night before the challenge begins.

“The annual UK Venture Challenge competition provides students the opportunity to be innovative and entrepreneurial, which is an important part of their educational experience,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. "Congratulations to all of the students who will be presenting to the judges on Saturday."

The students competing in the 5th annual UK Venture Challenge are:

  • BlamBags by Derek Jorge Campbell, JD candidate
  • Enshrine Foundation by Matthew Wiseman, history and international studies
  • LoJo’s GoPro Rentals by Logan Jones, finance, and Sam Cundiff, computer science
  • Loop by Maged Saeed, mathematical economics
  • Scentple by Adam Campbell, business; Scarlette Hutchins, engineering; Anne McCarty, marketing; Diante Elcock, media arts and studies; and Nithya Venugopal, business
  • Serandu Custom Riding Boots by Allison Burke, merchandising, and Caitlin Halliwell, equine business management
  • Talkables by Cassady Ritter, computer engineering
  • Ultimate Angler by Alan Sparkman, MBA candidate; Jarrod Williams, pharmaceutical sciences; and Michael Rudy, MBA candidate

The top three winning teams will share $3,000 in scholarship prize money. The first place team wins $1,500, second place wins $1,000, and third place wins $500. The online top vote getter wins $50.

The teams submitted written proposals to the judges earlier this week. The judges are LaShana M. Harris, founder and CEO, Babylocity LLC; Wanisa “Pang” Hartman, vice president/creative designer, Frogdice Inc.; and George Ward, executive director, Coldstream Research Campus.

Sponsors include 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.

UK Venture Challenge is organized by iNET, the Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking, hosted by the College of Communication and Information, with the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship, Venture Studio & the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network in the Gatton College of Business and Economics.

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