PIKEVILLE – Eastern Kentucky is creating the next generation of entrepreneurs.
The Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville office and the Appalachian Renaissance Initiative organized and sponsored a Regional High School Startup Challenge business pitch competition at the University of Pikeville-Coleman College of Business. Teams of high school students from Breathitt, Johnson, Magoffin and Pike counties developed concepts for new products and pitched those ideas to a panel of judges for cash prizes. This event was the finale of a 10-week entrepreneurship course taught by the UPIKE Kentucky Innovation Network staff for the students from these counties.
Johnson Central students Emily Fairchild and Trey Caudill took home the top prize of $1,000 for Glow in the Dark Horseshoes. The goal of this business is to prevent nighttime accidents among horse riders and automobiles. The product will have a chemical solution baked into the shoe to maintain a noticeable glow.
“Entrepreneurship has allowed us to grow more confident in speaking and to understand the business process steps more clearly,” the team said. Team Shooting Star from Phelps High School earned second place and $600 for their custom shirts and gifts store serving the Phelps community.
Team Shooting Star is comprised of Noelle Fields, Dalton Rife, Tyeisha Smith and Madison Stiltner.
“It has been quite a learning process and we are sure, as our business grows, that we will continue to learn, make mistakes, and hopefully make gains,” Team Shooting Star stated.
The Preppy Panther from Pikeville High School earned third place and $400 with team members Olivia Davis and Austin Wright. The Preppy Panther delivers creative products through their school store to serve Pikeville Independent students, parents and alumni.
The event was also sponsored by the University of Pikeville-Coleman College of Business.
The competition was part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, which is the world’s largest celebration of innovators and small business creators. One of the goals of the Kentucky Innovation Network is to encourage the creativity of young people in Eastern Kentucky and to help them develop entrepreneurial competencies. These will serve to enhance their career readiness and expose them to the opportunity of starting their own businesses.
“This competition has generated tremendous excitement for young entrepreneurs in Eastern Kentucky,” said David Snow, director of the Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office. “The students and teachers involved worked diligently on their business models and we are all pleased with the results.”
From assisting startups in assessing an idea, to developing a business plan, to finding grants, loans and capital, the Kentucky Innovation Network helps local companies discover the resources needed to be successful. The Pikeville office operates in UPIKE’s Community Technology Center and serves nine counties, including Breathitt, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Perry and Pike.
For more information about the Kentucky Innovation Network, visit www.kyinnovation.com.