LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 14, 2017) — The Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship and the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network, part of the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics, conducted its Entrepreneurs Bootcamp graduation recently in the Gatton building.
This is the third graduating class of the Bootcamp program, with 60 graduates enduring and successfully completing the semester-long journey for no academic credit in hopes of discovering the true viability of their business ideas.
Final presentations were delivered from all teams and judged by an independent panel of Kentucky business leaders.
Tied for first place were teams Anavii and The Sustainable Products Company, winning $1,000 each.
Anavii is a marketplace for the conscious consumer which provides an online retail space where a consumer can compare products based on virtues beyond price and reviews, like carbon impact, water impact, red list ingredients, transparency, location, packaging and other certifications. In the short-term Anavii is focusing on industrial hemp products, in particular hemp-derived CBD products. The founder and team leader is Annie Rouse, a Lexington community business leader, Fulbright Scholar and UK business alumna.
The Sustainable Products Company is developing natural, cleaner and safer agricultural products, wood vinegar and biochar. Wood vinegar is a nonsynthetic pest repellent, compost spray, seed and soil conditioner, while biochar is a natural soil amendment that assists in retaining plant nutrients and water for longer periods of time. The team is led by chemical engineering doctoral student Chandni Joshi.
FluXomics placed second and won $800 towards their startup. Team members, Ramon Sun and Jacob Roney are both doctoral students from the College of Medicine. FluXomics is a health technology company advancing dynamic metabolomics for precision medicine and every area of life sciences research. Their Dynamic Metabolomics™ is a powerful technology for assessing health, biomarker discoveries, innovative diagnostic tests and generation of hypothesis driven research ideas.
The third place winner, receiving $600, was team Bear In Mind. The team has members in the College of Engineering and Gatton College. Their service offers bear spray cans in a kiosk for rent while visiting national forests and parks. The team is led by Austin Horvat, a mechanical engineering junior.
Tied for fourth place and $400 each, were teams HandPrint and GreenStep. HandPrint offers customizable 3-D printed gloves for stroke patients during rehabilitation. HandPrint is led by Kevin Richardson, graduate student in mechanical engineering. The project is based on UK research led by Dr. Lumy Sawaki from Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Center, and Professor Scott Stephens from the College of Engineering. GreenStep is stepping up the energy auditing service industry and will offer customized packages for home/commercial energy audits. GreenStep is founded by Rachel Norton, community business owner, certified energy specialist and UK alumna from the College of Engineering.
The fifth place winner was Life Off U, led by founder and CEO George Bell and teammate Shawn DeWeese from Gatton College. The company offers a college marketing platform made by college students for college students, aimed at connecting off-campus businesses to their local collegiate students through social media, content marketing, a website, a mobile app and word-of-mouth.
Also, two $150 Directors’ Awards were presented to projects that showed potential in ideas and business models. Those recipients were BlueView (College of Engineering) and S3 Technologies (College of Agriculture, Food and Environment).
“This year’s graduating class of 19 teams have persevered and moved their technologies further down the commercialization pathway,” said Warren Nash, executive director of the Von Allmen Center. “I look forward to working with these teams to help make them more successful in the marketplace.”
Mariam Gorjian, commercialization specialist for the Von Allmen Center, added, “Instructing, coaching, and mentoring these individuals has been very inspiring. It’s been a great experience to be a part of each team’s ‘leap of faith’ into entrepreneurship. We are proud to be at the front lines of entrepreneurship in Kentucky, and will continue to work with many of the teams in the spring semester.”