Split decision! First place tie at $30,000 Brown-Forman Cardinal Challenge

LOUISVILLE, Ky., (February 21, 2011)–Two breakthrough business concepts shared top honors at the 2011 Brown-Forman Cardinal Challenge hosted this weekend by the University of Louisville Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship.

It was the first time in the four-year history of the event that the overall business plan presentation category featured a tie for first place.

Judges combined first and second-place cash prizes and awarded $10,000 each to the StAthletes concept from the University of Western Ontario and the Hydraulic Wind Power concept from Indiana University. By judges’ decision, the Cardinal Challenge automatic bid to Venture Labs Investment Competition was awarded to StAthletes.

The StAthletes concept proposes to assemble and sell unique data quantifying the performance of individual National Hockey League players.  The statistical analysis program could also be marketed to teams in other professional sports played with a continuous flow of action. UWO team members presenting were Meghan Chayka, John Chayka and Neil Lane.

IU’s concept proposes a new generation of more cost-effective and reliable wind turbines. The company would use hydraulic systems to revolutionize the wind industry and make the power generators lighter and cheaper to service.  The concept was presented by Adam Johnson and Justin Otani.

“The judges said this was the strongest field they’d seen and the most-difficult decision they’ve had to make,” said competition director and UofL Cobb Family Professor of Entrepreneurship Van Clouse.  “We’re very proud our event continues to attract the highest-quality students and the most-exciting new business ideas.”  (Details on all of the concepts are available at cardinalchallenge.com in the 2011 event program. Photos and videos from the event are also available on the site.)

Third-place honors and $3,000 were awarded to the University of Oregon for its VisiRay improved pest control system. Purdue University’s Medtric Biotech team earned the fourth-place award of $1,500 for an innovative antimicrobial wound dressing concept.

Green concepts dominated the 60-second Fast Pitch competition awards. The University of Arkansas cycleWood Solutions team earned the first place prize of $1,500.  Presenter Jack Avery invoked the second-most quoted line from film classic “The Graduate” in explaining the team’s proposal to replace ubiquitous plastic bags with an eco-friendly alternative.  Second place and $1,000 were awarded to the University of Louisville for Joseph Mott’s presentation of the team’s Venturesome Energy concept.  The business would market and maintain modular compressed natural gas (CNG) filling stations for vehicle fleets using the alternative fuel.

Speaking at the competition luncheon, entrepreneur and now Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher issued a proclamation naming February 19 Entrepreneurial Excellence Day in Louisville.  He noted the urgent need for innovation and creativity in business and invited the student entrepreneurs to bring their new concepts to Louisville.  “We’ll help you succeed,” he said. “We want to be the most entrepreneurship-friendly city in the nation.”

The competition featured 12 teams of graduate students from top-ranked entrepreneurship programs across North America vying for more than $30,000 in cash awards. The teams were divided into four tracks for first round competition.  Judges selected one team from each track to advance to the finals.

Judges included venture capitalists, angel investors, serial entrepreneurs and business leaders experienced in business start-ups. Teams that did not win cash prizes each received a $750 presenter award. All teams received individual feedback from the judges regarding ways to improve their concepts and presentations to make them more viable and attractive to prospective investors.

Target dates for next year’s Brown-Forman Cardinal Challenge are February 20 & 21, 2012.  Visit cardinalchallenge.com for updates.

The programs of the UofL Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship are ranked among the best in the world. Construction of new facilities to house the Center is underway on the UofL Belknap campus.

Posted in: 2011 Cardinal Challenge

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