Pikeville Hosts First High School Entrepreneur Competition

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Eastern Kentucky is creating the next generation of great entrepreneurs.

The Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville office organized and sponsored a High School Startup Challenge business plan competition at Pikeville Independent High School. Teams of students developed concepts for new products and pitched those ideas to a panel of judges for cash prizes.

Students Meagan Cochran, Caleb Skeens and Emma Looney took home the top prize for MyPace. The idea behind MySpace is to create a mobile application for runners. The app would utilize a sensor to synchronize a runner’s pace to the beat of the music on his or her mobile device.

“This project forced us to work hard,” the team said. “The most important thing we have gained has been the knowledge that we can succeed at anything we set our minds to.”

Team Lotus earned second place for its concept of calculator software to enhance students’ math skills and reduce calculator dependency. Team Lotus is comprised of Noor Ali, Vianna Le, Faith Runyon and Katie Atkins.

Team iExpress earned 3rd place with the members of Olivia Davis, Michael Gaunt, Kevin Green, Mason Griffith, Sean Hillwig, Beka Lindsey, Bridgett Pennington, Tommy Tackett, Tommy Webb and Austin Wright. iExpress is developing an outdoor recreation application to increase ecotourism in eastern Kentucky.

“There is an unbelievable amount of business information our group learned, and we are grateful to have been able to compete and have this wonderful experience,” Team iExpress stated.

The event also was sponsored by the University of Pikeville Coleman College of Business, Appalachian Wireless and Quick Signs of Coal Run.

The competition was part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, which is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and small business creators. One of the goals of the Kentucky Innovation Network is to encourage young entrepreneurs in eastern Kentucky to explore their ideas and to teach them how to start their own businesses.

“This competition has generated tremendous excitement for young entrepreneurs in Pikeville,” said David Snow, director of the Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office. “The students and teachers involved worked diligently on their business plans, and we are all pleased with the results.”

Moving forward, Pikeville Independent wants to make entrepreneurship education a permanent part of their school. The Innovation Network plans to introduce a formal program and partner with the teachers to deliver the content starting next spring.

From assisting startups in assessing an idea, to developing a business plan, to finding grants, loans and capital, the Kentucky Innovation Network helps local companies discover the resources needed to be successful. The Pikeville office operates in UPIKE’s Community Technology Center and serves nine counties, including Pike, Martin, Johnson, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry, Breathitt and Magoffin.

Article: David Snow, Pikeville Innovation Network Office Director

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