David Lowe, a senior in the SEAM program received $2,329 for his business concept pitch at State Idea U, a new statewide business concept and business plan competition designed to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. Lowe’s business concept was for WebNoise to capture feedback on companies whose products and services are being discussed in social media and other on-line forums. This feedback is then compiled and provided to clients.
Another award recipient was Dr. Bruce Walcott, the faculty advisor for UK’s Entrepreneur’s Club where students across UK’s campus come together to further entrepreneurship and enterprise. Dr. Walcott’s team, BetaBase, represented UK in the Idea State U competition. BetaBase is revolutionizing the rock climbing industry by capturing high resolution, first-person point-of-view of climbing routes. Comprising BetaBase are three UK students: Tyler Yarbrough, Ben Freeman, and Tom Cunningham.
“Their specialty is the Red River Gorge,” said Walcott. “People don’t realize what an internationally-renowned attraction we have in our own back yard. The BetaBase product will not only help to make climbing safer, but will attract even more climbers to the Red River Gorge. “
When asked about his award, Walcott said, “I am deeply honored. Like every coach, I would have liked to have seen my team finish higher, but I was very proud of their efforts. Certainly, much of the credit for getting BetaBase to IDEA State U should be afforded to a number of other advisors: Wes Brooks, Nick Such, Dean Harvey, Natasha Jones, Jim Clifton, Jeff Ashley, Holly Hapke, Hank Dietz, Richard Stump and Randall Stevens. We are blessed to have students, staff, faculty and alumni who know so much about entrepreneurship and are willing to give back. I would be very much remised if I didn’t thank Paul Boisvert, who organizes the competition and gave our team a shot.”
Walcott added, “The $500 that BetaBase did receive from the competition will help fund their way to travel to California. There, they plan to give their pitch to Casey Sheahan, CEO of Patagonia, a leader in outdoor and climbing apparel. If they can get buy-in from Patagonia, BetaBase will have achieved a firm foot hold on their climb to the top.”
Idea State “U” is Kentucky’s new statewide business concept and business plan competition designed to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship by rewarding participating student teams from the commonwealth’s eight four-year state universities. Winning teams were those judged as having the best business concepts and business plans for proposed new ventures.
The event was held in Lexington, April 22-23, 2011.