UK student entrepreneurs place in the money at 2015 Idea State U regionals

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 2015)  —  All four University of Kentucky teams placed in the money at the Idea State U state business competition regionals last weekend. The undergraduate and graduate students won a total $3,000 for presenting their business concepts and business plans to a panel of judges.

UK Venture Challenge winners won second and third place in the business concept track. Second place and $750 went to Mark Manczyk, “re.3.” Manczyk is a first-year graduate student in the Master of Architecture program. The “FInanceU” team of Michael Lewis, finance and accounting major, and TJ Barnett, finance and management major, won $500 for third.

UK MBA students won first and second place in the business plan track. The “Red Natural” team of Joanna Foresman, Andrew Wachs, Jeremy Madigan and Wen Zhao collected $1,000 for first place. Second place and $750 went to “AIRboost LLC” MBA’s William Walker, Bryan O’Neill and Kyle Hogue. The MBA students developed businesses from UK faculty technology in the MBA 624 course focused on technology commercialization.

The teams move on to the Idea State U finals, April 24-25 at the Lexington Center, with the best ideas winning a share of up to $100,000 to get their companies up and running.

“Idea State U demonstrates the tremendous amount of entrepreneurial talent we have among Kentucky’s young people,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “We have some of the brightest young minds in the country, and we need to encourage them to build on their dreams right here in the Commonwealth.” Idea State U is a program of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

Advisors to the students included iNET Director Deb Weis, Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship Executive Director Dean Harvey and commercialization specialist Mariam Gorjian, and Warren Nash, Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network. iNET is hosted by the College of Communication and Information; the Von Allmen Center and Kentucky Innovation Network Lexington office are part of the Gatton College of Business and Economics.