The Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office welcomed aspiring entrepreneurs to the University of Pikeville for the Appalachian New Business Competition. This is the sixth time for the event and it is held every December. It was originally named the Startup Challenge, but was rebranded this year to further encourage participation from members of the community. This is the largest event of its kind in Eastern Kentucky and everyone in the region is eligible to participate.
The Appalachian New Business Competition was developed to seek new, independently proposed ventures in the conceptual, seed or startup stages. The event was held in collaboration with the Coleman College of Business.
Entries from high school students, college students and community members were received. Individuals and teams submitted written plans for a chance to compete for $10,000 in prize money. The most comprehensive plans were chosen as finalists to attend the event. The finalists delivered oral presentations before an exceptionally qualified panel of judges. The three highest scoring business proposals were selected as winners.
“This year’s event was filled with innovative and timely business ideas. We want and need to see more creativity such as this in Eastern Kentucky,” proclaimed David Snow, D.M., director of the Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville office, director of the SBI program and business competitions, associate professor of business and the founder of the event.
K² Medical won first place and the $5,000 prize. The team members are UPIKE MBA students Kaitlyn Abdon and Katelyn Simpson who created an innovation in emergency medical equipment by designing a new type of scoop stretcher, the Xtra Scoop. This device addresses the growing obesity epidemic and offers emergency medical technicians a safer way to lift and transfer their patients.
“It was such an incredible experience to get the chance to compete in this competition and to see our hard work pay off is such a rewarding feeling,” stated Simpson. “We are excited to see where this opportunity takes us.”
The second place award of $3,000 went to the Lifetime Learner team of Brigitte Anderson and Andrew Reed. They are both UPIKE professors and MBA students working to provide web-based training services to target the serious problem of sexual harassment in higher education.
“My experiences in the UPIKE MBA program have really opened my eyes to the rewarding opportunities that the world of entrepreneurship provides and I am grateful for this wonderful competition here on our campus,” commented Reed.
Pikeville Counseling Center is the business proposed by Robyn Crouch. She wants to bring Parent-Child Interaction Therapy to Pikeville. This is a proven method to improve child behavior, but is not offered in the region.
“I feel fortunate to have placed in the competition, but most fortunate to have been able to discuss at length my business,” said Crouch. “After the competition, the panelists gave me terrific feedback and ideas for cost cutting.”
From assisting startups in assessing an idea, to developing a business plan, to finding grants, loans and capital, the Kentucky Innovation Network helps local entrepreneurs and local companies discover the resources needed to be successful. The Pikeville office operates in UPIKE’s Community Technology Center and serves the nine counties of Breathitt, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Perry and Pike.
For more information about the Coleman College of Business or the Kentucky Innovation Network, visit www.upike.edu/CCOB or http://kyinnovation.com.