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 this year’s 11th annual Idea State U finals.
Idea State U, a statewide business-concept competition sponsored by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s entrepreneurship office and its partners across the state, 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 held in March in Morehead, Owensboro and Wilmore. At the finals on April 21, teams presented business ideas to a panel of judges at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics in Lexington for an opportunity to earn a share of a $100,000 prize pool.
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 enables 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 encounter in safely transporting 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 were:
• 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 some of the national parks. 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 included:
• GlucoBreeze (University of Louisville) – The AKEESO team from UofL is launching GlucoBreeze, the first noninvasive, breath-based blood glucose monitor. GlucoBreeze measures blood glucose through the breath’s natural acetone levels 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 changes the way inventory is tracked. Pascal Tags provides inventory distortion solutions for companies of all sizes.
The Idea State U competition is open to all postsecondary institutions in the commonwealth with the goal of identifying and supporting the next generation of Kentucky innovators and entrepreneurs.