LOUISVILLE, Ky., (April 26, 2011)–Students and faculty from the University of Louisville Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship won seven awards totaling more than $60,000, including a sweep of top awards in the graduate category, at the 2011 Idea State U competition April 22-23 in Lexington.

Three of the four UofL teams took first place in their division, with the fourth earning a second place.

The annual business plan and business concept competition for Kentucky’s public universities is sponsored by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. It offers $100,000 in prizes, making it one of the largest state-wide competitions in the nation. The competition emphasizes business concepts and plans that are most likely to result in successful ventures. In addition to UofL, 16 student teams from the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, Northern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, Kentucky State, Morehead and Murray participated.

In the graduate division, UofL’s Cuddle Clones took first place in the Business Plan and Elevator Pitch competitions, earning $41,842.  The team has created an on-line retail business that produces customized plush versions of pets based on photos and descriptive information provided by customers. The team includes Entrepreneurship MBA students Jennifer Graham, Jillian Himler and Adam Greene. Team advisors are Professor Van G.H. Clouse and Executive-in-Residence Suzanne Bergmeister.

Snorkel, a team of UofL undergraduate entrepreneurship students, won the first place prize of $11,421 in the Undergraduate Business Plan competition. The 12-member team created a web application that centralizes student life with collaborative and organizational tools. The interactive system includes intelligent prioritizing and customizable action lists that help students focus on academic work and stay on task.  The team includes Matt Lanham, Justin Bishop, Austin Todd, Ashley Wimsett, Terrance Andrew Simpson, Danilo Do Prado, Jesse Moore, Tasha Farley, Matt Bischoff, Rachel Grieshaber, Sierra Jackson and Jonathan Mattingly. The team is coached by Professor Sharon Kerrick.

In Graduate Concept competition, UofL’s Kentucky Chia took first place and $5,434 in prizes for its proposal to grow and distribute chia seeds, an ancient super food, as an equine feed supplement.  In addition to creating a new cash crop for Kentucky, chia will help prevent equine colic and laminitis, two of the leading causes of premature death among horses. The team includes Entrepreneurship MBA students Keith Starling, Zack Pennington and Scott Serdoz.  Clouse and Bergmeister are team advisors.

UofL’s All-in-One Payment Solutions won the undergraduate Elevator Pitch and second place in the Undergraduate Concept competition, earning $1,553.  The team proposes to provide financial services through a Smartphone application and money management website. Through the site, members can set budgets and alerts, track spending and customize security preferences, and complete mobile transactions securely.  Coached by Professor Kerrick, the team includes Kaela Anderson, Nikki Atzinger, Maria Candanedo, Nick Dawson, Justin Hines, Taryn McCravy, Grace Paredes Cedeno, Marc Rivers, Janessa Siegel, Danielle Singer, Remington Thompson and Jarred Stahlhut.

Professor Clouse, UofL’s Cobb Family Professor of Entrepreneurship and director of UofL’s Forcht Center director, received the $1,000 Graduate Advisor Award.

The competition was judged by panels of serial entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and business start-up experts drawn from across the state.  For more information about the competition, visit IdeaStateU.com

For more information about the Forcht Center and its programs, visit business.louisville.edu/eship

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