LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 30, 2018) — Ten Kentucky universities demonstrated the state’s robust culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at the Alltech Innovation Competition 2018. Teams presented a broad range of unique business concepts that explored complex technologies, consumer trends and eco-friendly solutions.
Murray State University’s undergraduate team and the University of Louisville’s graduate team took home the top prize of $10,000 apiece, the same amount with which the late Dr. Pearse Lyons founded Alltech, now a multi-billion-dollar company with business in more than 120 countries.
“We saw 13 innovative ideas today,” said Dr. Karl Dawson, vice president and chief scientific officer at Alltech. “These talented teams demonstrate the opportunity to develop and retain entrepreneurs right here in Kentucky — an idea that Dr. Lyons sought to promote with this program.”
Murray State’s undergraduate team, including students Aaron Stevens, Blakely Broder and Jordan Young, and their advisor Steve Dublin, secured the undergraduate first place prize with their venture Pip&Dip. With the use of 3D printing technology, the team developed a finger brace that optimizes efficiency and reduces discomfort for those with an injury or natural deformity.
“To me, innovation means benefiting all of mankind, not just yourself,” said Stevens.
The Louisville graduate team, including students JD Mitchell and Eric Wentworth, and their advisor Suzanne Bergmeister, secured the graduate first place prize with their venture Mindful Mix. The team developed all-natural cocktail mixers infused with superfoods and fortified with vitamins and electrolytes.
“This has been an amazing experience,” said Mitchell. “Winning validates our idea, but the feedback we received from judges and the conversations we’ve had with other teams today are invaluable.”
This year’s competition hosted the largest group of participants in its six-year history. The two winning teams faced competition from Bellarmine University, Berea College, Georgetown College, Kentucky State University, Morehead State University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Pikeville and Western Kentucky University.
“Today’s presentations showcase the high level of education and talent in Kentucky,” said Suniti Mujumdar, manager of educational engagement at Alltech. “These students represent the next generation of innovative entrepreneurship and have the capacity to be stewards of change for the commonwealth.”
First held in 2013, the competition has traditionally featured entries that focus on animal nutrition, food, crop science, or brewing and distilling — Alltech’s business sectors. This year’s competition welcomed a broad array of venture ideas, reflecting the spirit of the company’s flagship international conference ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, which features the theme “ideas change everything.”