FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 9, 2018) – A product that helps top athletes bounce back through cold therapy and a startup working on an innovative way to assist first responders in lifting patients each won first-place prizes at the 11th annual Idea State U finals in Lexington.
Idea State U, a statewide business concept competition, encourages entrepreneurship and innovation among Kentucky’s college and university students. This year’s competition included 30 teams from 13 colleges and universities competing to place in the Business Plan and Business Model categories.
Those teams advanced to the finals from three regional competitions three regional competitions held in March in Morehead, Owensboro and Wilmore. At the finals, teams presented business ideas to a panel of judges at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics in Lexington on April 21 for an opportunity to earn a share of a $100,000 prize pool.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s entrepreneurship office, along with partners throughout the state, support and organize Idea State U. This week the state is celebrating Startup Week with a series of announcements, events, partnerships and initiatives to fast-track the state’s business innovation environment.
Ichor, from the University of Louisville, won the Business Plan competition with its therapeutic technology for athletes. The team developed the patent-pending ColdTheraPak, a device that allows elite athletes to take ice baths without the hassle and cost of buying bags of ice.
K2 Medical, a team from the University of Pikeville, took top honors in the Business Model track for developing a way to help those who typically help others. With its Xtra Scoop device, the team is solving a problem emergency responders safely transport obese patients. Xtra Scoop consists of detachable wings for a scoop stretcher, making it easier to secure, lift, and move larger patients.
Other top finishers in the Business Plan category include:
- Web-U Trainer (University of Pikeville) – Lifetime Learner provides video-based training for higher education institutions to address sexual harassment and assault. Customizable, interactive Web-U Trainer modules feature fictionalized video scenarios to train faculty, staff and students.
- Mindful Mix (University of Louisville) – Mindful Mix is an all-natural, superfood-infused cocktail mixer. Fortified with vitamins and electrolytes, the product can be mixed with alcohol for a cocktail, or with club soda for a “mocktail.”
- Bear in Mind (University of Kentucky) – Bear In Mind is a product to protect hikers from attack in areas like Yellowstone National Park. It would provide park visitors with the option to rent safe, efficient and effective bear spray through convenient and user friendly automated kiosks.
Other top finishers in the Business Model division include:
- GlucoBreeze (University of Louisville) – The AKEESO team from UofL is launching GlucoBreeze, the first non-invasive, breath-based blood glucose monitor. GlucoBreeze measures blood glucose through the breath’s natural acetone levels with precision, accuracy and real-time readings, without the prick of a needle.
- National Water Pong League (Asbury University) –The non-alcoholic version of a game where competitors must drink beer when opponents throw ping pong balls into a cups across a table, Water Pong, hydrates instead of causing hangovers. The Nation Water Pong Association will host tournaments on a national level.
- Pascal Tags (University of Louisville) – Pascal Tags are a smart, passive, and battery-free barcode that will revolutionize the way people track inventory. Pascal Tags provides inventory distortion solutions for companies of all sizes.
Student teams involved with Idea State U can continue to work with the Cabinet’s entrepreneurship office and its partners to pursue their business goals. Resource available for Kentucky innovators and small business owners at any stage – whether just starting with an idea or already operating an established business – include planning, guidance, mentorship, access to capital, business connections and exporting assistance.
The Idea State U competition is open to all post-secondary institutions in the commonwealth. It identifies and supports the next generation of Kentucky innovators and entrepreneurs. This year’s list of entrants continues last year’s strong participation by students from community and technical colleges across the state.
The entrepreneurship office provides an array of services, programs and initiatives to encourage small business growth across Kentucky. The office works to coordinate the state’s focus and efforts in creating and promoting a strong culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.