University of Pikeville Students Triumph at Idea State U Finals

 Left to Right: Kaitlyn Abdon, Katelyn Simpson, Dr. David Snow, and Andrew Reed

Left to Right: Kaitlyn Abdon, Katelyn Simpson, Dr. David Snow, and Andrew Reed

Two business plan teams from the University of Pikeville were winners in the Idea State U business plan competition finals in Lexington. The event was held at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton School of Business and is a statewide contest designed to identify and support the next generation of Kentucky innovators and entrepreneurs. Idea State U is sponsored and organized by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. Other schools represented were the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville, Northern Kentucky University, Murray State University, Morehead State University, Asbury University, Eastern Kentucky University, Berea College, West Kentucky Community and Technical College, and Bellarmine University. 

Kaitlyn Abdon and Kaitlyn Simpson are the founders of K2Medical. Both will graduate in May from the UPIKE Professional MBA program. Their new product is the Xtra Scoop. This is a patented innovation in patient transport devices for the bariatric market. This novel scoop stretcher used by emergency medical services is 56% wider with a weight capacity 2X stronger than current products. Abdon and Simpson won first place and $7,500 in the Business Model category. This brings their total to $13,000 in awards this academic year.

“Idea State U was an amazing experience. We loved seeing all of the different ideas”, said Abdon. “It was such an incredible opportunity and it was an honor to win the whole thing!”

The team of Brigitte Anderson and Andrew Reed formed the company Lifetime Learner. Their Web-U Trainer service is a web-based training platform for higher education to address the problems of sexual harassment and assault on college campuses. In comparison to current training methods, Web-U Trainer is customizable, highly interactive, and less expensive. Both will also graduate in May with Professional MBA degrees. They won second place and $15,000 in the Business Plan category. This brings their total to $17,500 this academic year.

“We were thrilled when after long hours of hard work, we won the regional competition at Morehead State University. Earning second place in an even more challenging group at the state level is now a dream come true,” said Anderson. “These recognitions give us the confidence to start our company as soon as we have graduated with an MBA in May."

“It is amazing when you put this into perspective. The University of Pikeville only has about 2,000 students, our business college is not AACSB accredited, we do not have an entrepreneurship center, I am the only full-time faculty to teach these students entrepreneurship, only four students were interested in participating in competitions, and UK for example, had six teams involved. However, we repeatedly prove we can perform at the highest level against any school in Kentucky and some of the best universities in the nation,” said David Snow, D.M., director of the Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville office, director of business competitions, associate professor of business and faculty adviser for the team. “This truly is a testament to the dedication of these students. I am very proud of their achievements.”