FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 1, 2017) — Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton awarded three winning teams from across Kentucky $80,000 in scholarships on Saturday, April 29 at the 2017 Lt. Gov.’s Entrepreneurship Challenge (LGEC) Finals at the University of Kentucky. Gov. Matt Bevin also attended and spoke to the audience.
“This contest illuminated the incredible talent Kentucky’s young adults possess,” said Lt. Gov. Hampton. “I congratulate all the teams who competed and thank them for being role models for their generation. The spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and well here in Kentucky, and will continue to grow as we nurture a climate for small business.”
The panel of judges for the LGEC Finals included five notable individuals from Kentucky’s business community. Mark Erwin, founder of Mark’s Feed Store Bar-B-Q, Koleman Karleski, a veteran venture capitalist, Phoebe Wood, principal of CompaniesWood, Carey Smith, founder of Big Ass Fans, and Purna Veer, founder of V-Soft Consulting. Alli Truttmann, founder of Wicked Sheets, served as the emcee.
Each finalist team had to give a 10-minute business pitch to the judges and answer their questions. After all teams had pitched their ideas, they were then scored by a combination of the following criteria: oral presentation, written business plan and the judges’ deliberations.
The first-place team, Dolphin Logger, was from Daviess County and won $40,000 in scholarships. Their company proposed a business idea involving Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology and school transportation.
State Representative Suzanne Miles of Daviess County watched and cheered for Dolphin Logger as they pitched their business idea.
“It brought me great joy watching Dolphin Logger compete and win with their innovative business idea,” said Rep. Miles. “The team’s outstanding entrepreneurial skills coupled with their desire to make our world a better place set them apart from the competition. Way to go Panthers, you made us all proud!”
The second-place team, Lamb LLC, was from Harlan County and won $25,000 in scholarships. Their company proposed a business idea involving the hotel industry and security monitoring. The third-place team, Zora, was from Fayette County and won $15,000 in scholarships. Their company proposed a business idea involving drone technology and digital production.
“Congratulations to all of the talented students from across the Commonwealth who participated in the first annual Lt. Governor’s Entrepreneurship Challenge Finals,” said Gov. Bevin. “Kentucky is in the midst of an unprecedented renaissance of economic growth, and it’s exciting to see our next generation building upon this momentum. Our future will be bright thanks to young entrepreneurs such as these who channel their creativity, passion and work ethic into groundbreaking new ventures.”
All 10 finalist teams received special medals from Lt. Gov. Hampton at the start of the competition for being the top teams who advanced from regional level competitions, which included 135 participating teams from across Kentucky. The top three teams out of the 10 finalists received scholarships for any post-secondary institution in Kentucky (e.g., four-year college, trade school, software bootcamp).
In addition to the LGEC scholarship winnings of $80,000, the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics, Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship (VACE) awarded three $1,000 scholarships to the top three teams’ schools. The scholarships can be used for a daylong entrepreneurship bootcamp taking place later in 2017.
Nearly 300 people registered to attend the first annual LGEC Finals. The audience included community members supporting a finalist team, business owners, venture capitalists, college recruiters, and elected officials.
For more information on the LGEC visit www.kylgec.com