Last updated: April 22. 2014 3:31PM - 529 Views

Pictured, from left: Sven Rodenbusch, Marcos Sernandez Fondelius, Felix Singer and Gabriel Penn.
Pictured, from left: Sven Rodenbusch, Marcos Sernandez Fondelius, Felix Singer and Gabriel Penn.
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FRANKFORT – A University of Pikeville team received a cash award to help them become Kentucky’s newest entrepreneurs, thanks to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

UPike students Sven Rodenbusch, Felix Singer, Marcos Sernandez Fondelius and Gabriel Penn received $1,270 in the seventh-annual Idea State U competition April 11-12 at the Lexington Center, in Lexington, Ky. The statewide contest is designed to identify and support the next generation of Kentucky innovators and entrepreneurs. The cabinet for Economic Development hosts the competition and awards winners with a share of nearly $100,000 to start their businesses. UPike was one of 10 colleges and universities competing in the event.

The UPike team received $1,270 for their proposed business concept, Gruentech Heating Systems. The students plan to develop a pool heating pump that will eliminate the need for a traditional pool heater. The pump will replace the air-cooled swimming pool circulating pump motor with a water-cooled pump motor.

Twenty-six teams, comprised of more than 80 undergraduate and graduate students from seven Kentucky public universities, UPike and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, participated in Idea State U. With the help of faculty advisors, students spent months developing business concepts or formal business plans, which were presented to panels of business experts serving as volunteer judges.

The emphasis on readiness to compete in the marketplace maximizes the opportunity to earn a return on the state’s investment by creating real companies that provide real jobs for Kentuckians. Most of the money can be only claimed as reimbursements for specified business expenses after the team forms a legal company in Kentucky.

In response to this annual competition, several schools have enhanced their existing programs or established new entrepreneurship courses to help students compete in future Idea State U events.

The Cabinet hosts the Idea State U competition to encourage a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that will help sustain Kentucky’s future economy in the global marketplace. The $100,000 in awards makes Idea State U one of the top state-sponsored business plan competitions in the country.

For more information, visit www.IdeaStateU.com.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency in Kentucky responsible for encouraging new jobs and investment in the state. New capital investment announced in Kentucky in 2013 totaled more than $3.3 billion, spurring more than 14,000 projected new jobs. Information on available industrial properties, workforce development assistance, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other economic development resources is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.

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