Four UK Student Entrepreneur Teams Advance to Idea State U Finals

Posted: April 06, 2016

The University of Kentucky’s top four student entrepreneur teams placed in the money at the Idea State U (ISU) regional this past weekend, earning them spots at ISU state finals at the end of April.

The undergraduate and graduate students, who presented either a business concept or business plan to a panel of judges, set up a marketing display, produced a 60-second marketing video, and submitted a detailed written concept or plan, won a total $2,250 in cash prizes.

UK Venture Challenge winner Serandu Custom Riding Boots placed second in business plan. Serandu, comprised of UK merchandising graduate Allison Burke and Caitlin Halliwell, a senior in equine business management, will offer the first equestrian boot fit to ride in through 3-D scanning and printing. 

Race Assured, which includes Julia Fabiani, an undergraduate student in equine science and physiology; Ben Martin, a graduate student in finance and agricultural economics; and Stefanie Pagano, a graduate student in biomedical engineering, received third in plans. Race Assured will provide a blood test, which can potentially predict injuries in horses well before serious problems occur. The team also won the Georgia Bowl intercollegiate entrepreneurship competition hosted by Georgia Tech.

Ultimate Angler and Talkables placed second and fourth respectively in the business concept category. Pharmaceutical sciences doctoral candidate Jarrod Williams and MBA candidate Alan Sparkman with Ultimate Angler will provide a website to better connect professional fishing guides with their potential clients.

Andrew Dharamsey, a computer engineering sophomore, will offer the Talkables smart collar, a low-cost pet collar that enables your pet to communicate with you at strategic places throughout your home. Talkables placed second in UK Venture Challenge.    

“We are extremely proud of our students for their innovative ideas and commend them for all of their hard work,” said Warren Nash, acting executive director of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship, and Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network director.

Nash, in his role as director of the Lexington Innovation Office, also advises students at other Lexington area colleges and universities. Three teams from Asbury University qualified at an earlier ISU regional for finals: Digi-Books, first in business plan; Go Run For It, fourth in plans; and Impact Box, fourth in business concept. Also, Kumari Arts from Sullivan University's Lexington campus placed third in concepts at the regional this past weekend.

Finals for Idea State U will be Friday and Saturday, April 22 and 23, at the Marriott Griffin Gate Hotel, located on Newtown Pike in Lexington. ISU is a program of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s Office of Entrepreneurship and administered by the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation.

In addition to Nash, advisors for the UK students include Deb Weis, UK Venture Challenge coordinator, and Von Allmen Center Commercialization Specialist and UK Venture Studio Director Mariam Gorjian. UK Venture Challenge is part of iNET in the UK College of Communication and Information. Venture Studio and bootcamp is part of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship and Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network, in the Gatton College of Business and Economics