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UPIKE hosts Appalachian New Business Competition

December 05, 2017 12:00 AM
Pikeville, Ky.
The Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville Office welcomed aspiring entrepreneurs to the University of Pikeville on Dec. 2 for the sixth annual Appalachian New Business Competition. Formerly known as the Startup Challenge, the event was rebranded this year to encourage increased participation from members of the community. This is the largest event of its kind in Eastern Kentucky and everyone in the region is eligible to participate.

The Appalachian New Business Competition, held in collaboration with the UPIKE Coleman College of Business, seeks new, independently proposed ventures in the conceptual, seed or startup stages.

Individuals and teams ranging from high school students, to college students, to community members submitted written plans for a chance to compete for $10,000 in prize money. Those with the most comprehensive plans were chosen as finalists for the event. Finalists delivered oral presentations before an exceptionally qualified panel of judges and the three highest-scoring business proposals were selected as winners.

“This year’s event was filled with innovative and timely business ideas,” said David Snow, D.M., director of the Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville office, director of the SBI program and business competitions, associate professor of business at the Coleman College of Business and the founder of the event. “We want and need to see more creativity such as this in Eastern Kentucky.”

K² Medical won first place and the $5,000 prize. The team members are UPIKE MBA students Kaitlyn Abdon and Katelyn Simpson who created an innovation in emergency medical equipment by designing a new type of scoop stretcher, the Xtra Scoop. This device addresses the growing obesity epidemic and offers emergency medical technicians a safer way to lift and transfer patients. “It was such an incredible experience to get the chance to compete in this competition, and to see our hard work pay off is such a rewarding feeling,” said Simpson. “We are excited to see where this opportunity takes us.”

The second place award of $3,000 went to the Lifetime Learner team of Brigitte Anderson and Andrew Reed, professors and MBA students at UPIKE working to provide web-based training services to address sexual harassment in higher education.

“My experiences in the UPIKE MBA program have really opened my eyes to the rewarding opportunities that the world of entrepreneurship provides and I am grateful for this wonderful competition here on our campus,” Reed said.

Pikeville Counseling Center is the business proposed by Robyn Crouch, who wishes to bring Parent-Child Interaction Therapy to Pikeville. This method of improving child behavior is not offered in the region.

“I feel fortunate to have placed in the competition, but most fortunate to have been able to discuss at length my business,” said Crouch. “After the competition, the panelists gave me terrific feedback and ideas for cost cutting.” 

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

For more information about the Coleman College of Business or the Kentucky Innovation Network, visit or


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