Receives $1,000 prize
PADUCAH, Ky. (Oct. 30, 2015) — Cooler Commander won the Kentucky Innovation Network regional competition in Paduach. The business, which makes life a little easier for adventure seekers and outdoors enthusiasts, received the $1,000 top prize and an invitation to pitch to the Kentucky Angel Investors Network in Louisville this December.
Cooler Commander is a tie-down apparatus created to secure coolers during outdoor adventures such as boating and ATV trips. The product, which company owner Jason Carnes still makes by hand, offers easy access to coolers while keeping them securely in place. The idea struck Carnes when he noticed the erratic way many coolers were strapped down during a recent ATV trip. After engineering a strap that could provide stability without limiting access to the cooler—and learning to sew—the Cooler Commander was born.
“At the pitch competition, I came in so nervous that my hands where sweaty and my stomach was full of butterflies,” said Carnes. “I had worked so hard for weeks on my presentation, and now I had to speak in front of people. I went up and gave it 100 percent and ended up winning. I have to give a lot of credit to Dan and (assistant director) Tom (Curtsinger) at the Paducah Innovation Network for helping me get started and encouraging me along the way. I have learned a lot from them and I am so glad that there are people I can turn to for advice and direction. This win was a huge boost of confidence and I look forward to continuing to build the Cooler Commander brand.”
Paducah’s pitch competition was the last in a series of 11 events held throughout the state. Earlier this year, Covington, Lexington, Morehead, Louisville, Ashland, London, Pikeville, Richmond, Elizabethtown and Murray held regional competitions.
The pitch competition in now in its second year. Consisting of 13 offices throughout the state, the Kentucky Innovation Network offers extensive resources for small and new businesses. Assistance can range from funding initiatives, marketing and sales assistance, small business advocacy and resource referrals, along with a variety of financial and incentive programs to encourage investment and job growth. All services are provided free of charge.