PIKEVILLE – The University of Pikeville welcomed aspiring entrepreneurs to the Coleman College of Business’s fourth Startup Challenge Business Plan Competition. This is the largest event of its kind in Eastern Kentucky and anyone in the region is eligible to participate. The Startup Challenge was developed to seek new, independently proposed ventures in the conceptual, seed or startup stages. The event was held in collaboration with the Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville office.
A total of 20 entries from high school students, college students and community members were received. Teams submitted written plans for a chance to compete for $15,000 in prize money. The eight most comprehensive plans were chosen as finalists to attend the event. These teams delivered oral presentations before a panel of judges. The three highest scoring teams were selected as winners.
“Each time we host this event, interest grows and the plans continue to improve. It is exciting to see the current entrepreneurial activity in Eastern Kentucky and to play a role in supporting these efforts,” said David Snow, D.M., director of the Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville office, director of business competitions, associate professor of business and the founder of the event.
Today’s Color took home first place and the $8,000 prize. Team members Andrew Taylor and Lloyd Stacy created software for physicians and treatment providers who specialize in the medically assisted treatment of substance abuse disorders. The automated platform replaces the slow manual process of contacting and recording patient compliance, substantially saving time and money for physicians and patients. Taylor is a former coal miner who taught himself computer coding.
“The Kentucky Innovation Network provided us with invaluable guidance and support,” said Taylor. “Thanks to their assistance, TodaysColor.com will be able to assist recovering addicts and their treatment providers.”
The second place award of $4,000 went to the Hashtag Appalachia team of Jacob Colley and Payton May. Hashtag Appalachia is a creative services company based in Pikeville providing marketing and branding services for small businesses as well as fabricating modern Appalachian products to sell directly to consumers.
“Hashtag Appalachia was thrilled to be able to participate in the Startup Challenge. As a new startup in Eastern Kentucky, the opportunity to pitch our business for a chance to win free capital was awesome,” said Colley. “Capital is king in all business, and being able to secure $4,000 allows us to make an investment in the tools and materials we need to be successful.”
Revere Reflector with Andrew Beatty, Durand Warren, Shawn Fuller and Christopher Blackburn earned third place and a $3,000 award with their idea of manufacturing a safer, stronger and less expensive roadway reflector.
“By preparing for this competition I learned that entrepreneurship is more than just having a good idea, it is a process. It is competitions like this that allow individuals to actually experience what entrepreneurship really is,” said Beatty.
From assisting startups in assessing an idea, to developing a business plan, to finding grants, loans and capital, the Kentucky Innovation Network helps local entrepreneurs and local companies discover the resources needed to be successful. The Pikeville office operates in UPIKE’s Community Technology Center and serves the nine counties of Breathitt, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Perry and Pike.