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UPIKE students excel during national entrepreneurship challenge

May 01, 2017 12:00 AM
Pikeville, Ky.
University of Pikeville students earned fourth place and $2,500 during the seventh annual Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures® Competition. More than 100 teams from 65 colleges and universities from across the country applied for the entrepreneurship competition hosted by Texas Christian University (TCU). TCU accepted 51 teams as semi-finalists to present in Fort Worth, Texas.

Christin Justice of Pikeville, and Nicholas Rodenbusch of Simmern, Germany, make up UPIKE’s team CitrOHa. Their business plan includes an all-natural functional food additive with an antioxidant and nutritional blend derived from the seeds and peels of citrus-byproducts to address osteoarthritis in dogs. This is the third most common reason why dogs visit a veterinarian and is a $3 billion cost in the U.S.  

“This is the largest and most prestigious undergraduate competition in existence,” said David Snow, director of the Kentucky Innovation Network Pikeville office, SBI program and business competitions and associate professor of business at the University of Pikeville-Coleman College of Business. “The student business plans for this competition were extremely impressive. For example, the first place team from the University of Iowa created a platform to address the problem that 54 percent of donated organs are not transplanted because of communication inefficiencies in the organ transplant process. Their product has already been used for 40 transplant cases.”

Each team was given 12 minutes to present its business plan to a panel of judges. Afterwards, the judges were allowed 10 minutes to ask questions. The UPIKE team won its bracket, which includes seven schools, and advanced to the finals. To do this, the team outscored students from James Madison University, Ohio University, Tarleton State University, the University of Florida, the University of Western Ontario and Wake Forest University.  

The finalist presentations took place before an accomplished group of judges including Jeff Hoffman, the founder of, a company currently worth $80 billion.

Some of the best business schools and entrepreneurship programs in the U.S. were represented. High ranking business school participants included University of Chicago (3rd), University of Michigan (11th), University of Virginia (14th), University of Texas (17th), University of North Carolina (18th), Emory University (20th), Georgetown University (tied 21st), Washington University (tied 21st), and many others. High ranking undergraduate entrepreneurship program participants included University of Michigan (3rd), University of Houston (6th), Washington University (10th), University of Oklahoma (12th), University of North Carolina (14th), University of Iowa (19th), Texas Christian University (21st), Loyola Marymount University (24th), and many others.  

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