Kentucky’s Top College Entrepreneurs to Square Off at Idea State U

Students hoping to cash in on the next big idea; start new businesses

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 3, 2014) – Kentucky’s brightest college entrepreneurs will enroll in a different type of university this month—one that could turn the next big idea into a full-scale company.

Students from eight Kentucky public universities, the Kentucky Community & Technical College System (KCTCS) and the University of Pikeville (UPIKE) will participate in the Cabinet for Economic Development’s Idea State U, a nationally recognized business plan competition designed to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship on the college level.

Teams enrolling in Idea State U develop and pitch new concepts and plans for what could become the next big business venture. Students with the best ideas will win a share of $100,000 to get their companies up and running.

“The Idea State U business plan competition demonstrates the tremendous amount of entrepreneurial talent we have all across Kentucky,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “Many of the innovation-based student ventures will go on to form real companies that contribute real jobs to help our economy grow.”

The seventh-annual Idea State U competition is April 11-12 at the Lexington Center in Lexington. This year’s competition will feature a record 29 teams of undergraduate and graduate students from across the state. Members of each team will deliver elevator pitches and formal presentations before a panel of judges. The judges will not only determine the winners, but also provide valuable feedback and advice to all participants.

“A great business idea can come from anyone, regardless of age or experience,” said Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes. “College students from around the state are hard at work on the next big product, and we want to encourage and support their efforts. Idea State U not only provides much-needed financial support, but also real business advice students can use to make their ventures successful.”

Cash prizes are weighted to provide larger awards to teams whose entries are more fully developed and therefore more likely to succeed. Most of the money can only be claimed as reimbursements for specified business expenses after the team forms a legal company in Kentucky.

This is the first year KCTCS and UPIKE students will participate in Idea State U. The 2015 competition will be expanded to include all public and private postsecondary institutions in the Commonwealth.

The Office of Entrepreneurship within the Cabinet for Economic Development oversees Idea State U, as well as an array of other services, programs and initiatives to encourage small business growth. The goal of the office is to streamline the state’s focus and efforts to create and promote a strong culture of entrepreneurship.

“Cultivating and encouraging entrepreneurship is a major component of our economic development strategy,” said Mandy Lambert, acting business development commissioner for the Cabinet for Economic Development. “Through Idea State U and many other exciting initiatives, the Office of Entrepreneurship is laying a strong foundation for entrepreneurial growth across the state. We look forward to seeing what new business ideas will be presented at this year’s competition.”

The media is invited to attend Idea State U. For a schedule of events and additional information, Learn about one winner’s success story here.


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