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Steve Beshear
Old Capitol Annex
300 West Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601
Larry Hayes
April 22, 2015
For Immediate Release
Joe Hall

Rick Johnson

College Entrepreneurs to Square Off at Idea State U

Competition will feature some of Kentucky's next business ventures; 12 colleges and universities to be represented

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 21, 2015) – The world’s next major corporation just might be born in Lexington this weekend.

Kentucky’s brightest college entrepreneurs will compete in the Cabinet for Economic Development’s Idea State U, April 24-25 at the Lexington Center. The nationally recognized business plan competition will include student teams from 12 Kentucky colleges and universities presenting business plans and concepts. The winning teams will win a share of $100,000 to get their business up and running.

“We have some of the brightest young minds in the country, and we need to encourage them to build their dreams right here in the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “Many of these students participating in Idea State U will go on to form real companies that will create real jobs and grow our economy.”

Idea State U will feature 25 student teams from the following schools: University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Northern Kentucky University, Georgetown College, University of Pikeville, Berea College, Morehead State University, Eastern Kentucky University, Murray State University, Western Kentucky University, Owensboro Community and Technical College and Lindsey Wilson College.

This is the first year Idea State U has been open to all post-secondary institutions in the Commonwealth. This weekend’s participants placed among the top presenters in one of three regional Idea State U events held last month.

“The teams participating in Idea State U demonstrate a unique ability to not only develop fascinating ideas, but also the aptitude to take these ideas a step further to create potential businesses,” said Mandy Lambert, commissioner of business development for the Cabinet. “More and more students are learning that they can become the next great innovators. We’re pleased to offer them the opportunity to help make their visions become reality.”

During the finals, members of each team will deliver elevator pitches and formal presentations before a panel of judges. The judges will not only determine the winners, but also provide valuable feedback and advice to all participants.

The top six teams will receive prizes. Cash prizes are weighted to provide larger awards to teams whose entries are more fully developed and therefore more likely to succeed. Most of the money can be claimed only as reimbursements for specified business expenses after the team forms a legal company in Kentucky.

The student teams also will continue to work with the Kentucky Innovation Network to pursue their business goals. Consisting of 13 offices throughout the state, the Network helps entrepreneurs and small business owners at any stage – whether it is just starting with an idea or already having an established business – and works with them to plan, build and launch their business.

The Office of Entrepreneurship within the Cabinet for Economic Development oversees Idea State U, as well as an array of other services, programs and initiatives to encourage small business growth. The goal of the office is to streamline the state’s focus and efforts to create and promote a strong culture of entrepreneurship.

The event is open to the media and public. For a schedule and additional information, visit

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook at or follow on Twitter at Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency responsible for encouraging new jobs and investment in the state. New capital investment announced in Kentucky in 2014 totaled a state record $3.7 billion, spurring more than 15,000 projected new jobs. The Commonwealth also received Site Selection magazine’s nationally acclaimed Governor’s Cup for most economic development projects per capita last year. Information on available industrial properties, workforce development assistance, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other economic development resources is available at

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