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Owensboro Community and Technical College (OCTC) hosted 17 teams for the regional competition for IDEA State U on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. Four of the teams were from Owensboro with two representing Brescia University and two from OCTC. IDEA State U is supported by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and is Kentuckys statewide business plan competition designed to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship by rewarding student teams from the Commonwealths colleges and universities. Winning teams are judged as having the best new business concepts and business plans for proposed new ventures. The contest is open to a wide-range of products, services or charitable activities a proposed for-profit or non-profit venture would offer. However, a teams chances of winning improve if the entry is judged as having more potential to succeed in the real marketplace. The competition places emphasis on business concepts and plans that are scored by independent judges as most likely to result in successful, high-growth ventures. Additional prizes are awarded for entries based on a high-tech product, high-tech service or high-tech intellectual property. High-tech, for purposes of the competition, is defined as a product, service or intellectual property derived from scientific research and development, and is based on, employs, or represents the most advanced technology currently available.

Both OCTC teams were selected to advance to the finals April 24-25 in Lexington, Kentucky. OCTC student, Ronnie Murray won second place and $750 in the Business Model category. Ronnie is the future proprietor of Tree Huggie, a unique business concept that allows the customer to customize their indoor and outdoor trees with fun, exciting outfit designs. The ideas for the design patterns can be inspired by different age groups, regional activity, sporting events, holiday dcor, and so much more. This concept was inspired to aid in giving visual personae to trees, especially in the months when the majority of them begin to lose their leaves. Ronnie is a Business Administration major. She has created a variety of Tree Huggie prototypes and has already secured numerous orders for her product. Ronnie will next compete in the Kentucky state-wide Idea State U competition in Lexington on April 24 and 25.

The OCTC Team OCELOT Enterprises, LLC. earned third place honors and a $500 cash award, and is comprised of T. J. Matally, Sophomore, and Jacob Grant, Freshman. Their innovative product, the Embracelet is a game changer in the field of medical monitoring technology. It is a technologically advanced wristband device that measures heart rate, oxygen levels, and body temperature. In addition it's measures, through an accelerometer, impact falls and long periods of patient inactivity. Registered users of the output phone application will receive real time data concerning their loved ones health metrics and can signal for immediate assistance if any of the indicators fall into the targeted red zone. The product will be designed for home use by patients and caregivers and OCELOT Enterprises LLC will patent, produce, and market the product.

Scott Williams, OCTC vice president of academic affairs commented, This is a great opportunity for our students to apply classroom theory in a real world environment. The competition shows the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of our students. Garnering awards and moving to the state competition is a great honor and I hope it will encourage more students to compete next year.

For most Kentuckians, higher education begins at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. Our statewide system of 16 colleges, more than 70 campuses and more than 87,000 students is a critical component to transforming the states economy by providing citizens with the education and training needed for high growth, high wage careers. For more information, visit kctcs.edu