FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 17, 2012) – The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development will host the fifth annual Idea State U competition this weekend in search of top student entrepreneurs in the state. The competition includes students from Kentucky’s public universities and provides cash awards to teams that develop the best business plans and concepts based on their ideas for innovative products and services. The event is open to the public.
Twenty-four teams of graduate and undergraduate students will compete April 20-21, 2012, at the Lexington Center. Up to $100,000 in combined prizes and awards will again make the event one of the nation’s largest state-sponsored business plan competitions.
“The Idea State U competition fosters the type of innovative thought that helps drive our economy and build a successful future,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “Let’s encourage and embrace great ideas, because creative entrepreneurial dreams are the first steps toward real-world, prosperous business ventures.”
All competition events will be conducted on Level 3 of the Lexington Center, starting on Friday, April 20, at 4:30 p.m., at which time the media and public will be invited to view table-top exhibits created by each team to illustrate their concept or plan.
At 6 p.m., the “elevator pitch” contest will begin, during which one member from each team will summarize, or “pitch,” the team’s business concept or business plan in 60 seconds or less before a panel of expert judges. The elevator pitch winners will be announced that evening.
On Saturday, starting at 8 a.m., all teams will return to the convention center to deliver oral presentations about their proposed business ventures. During this event, up to five members from each team will deliver a 15-minute formal presentation supported by audio-visual images and data, followed by a 20-minute question and answer and feedback session with the judges. Winners of the overall competition will be announced after the conclusion of the oral presentations, around 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Kris Kimel, president and a founder of the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, will emcee the two-day event. An author and contributor to numerous articles and reports on science, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation, Kimel is widely recognized as an expert in the field of science and technology policy, programs and entrepreneurship. He also founded the international IdeaFestival event conducted annually in Louisville.
“Supporting education in entrepreneurship helps build a culture of innovation that is vital to expanding Kentucky’s economy,” said Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes. The students not only learn the mechanics of developing a business plan or concept, they also gain an awareness of the risks and rewards of creating a new venture.”
Prior to the state-level competition, only a few of Kentucky’s eight public universities had programs focused on business plan development, such as the University of Louisville’s Cardinal Challenge and Eastern Kentucky University’s Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards. In response to the 2008 introduction of the state-level competition, the universities without existing programs introduced their own contests or implemented new entrepreneurship classes and selection processes to develop and choose their teams and entries.
Additional information about the Idea State U business concept and business plan competition is available online at the competition website: www.IdeaStateU.com.