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OCTCs STUDENTS EARN TOP HONORS AT IDEA STATE U

Owensboro Community amp; Technical Colleges Hydrosure team, Lacey Parham and Ellen Braden, earned their spot at the IDEA State U competition, and a $1,000 stipend, by winning the regional event held in Hopkinsville this year. The pair earned first place in the business model category at the state level, walking away with a $7,500 prize.

The team created Hydrosure, a new generation of feminine protection, and also won an award for top elevator pitch. Parham and Braden have a working sample of the product and have done market tests so the product is ready to be patented and produced. The company aims to provide a waterproof swimwear liner for women, as the current market of disposable products with waterproof protection is limited. Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton presented them with a glass trophy and their winnings.

Last year, OCTC's Ronnie Murray finished among the top three in the division and earned $2,500 to help promote and produce a decorative product called the Tree Huggie. Another OCTC team, Jacob Grant and T. J. Mattally, also qualified for the state competition last year. This is the second year for OCTC students to compete in Idea State U.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Developments Office of Entrepreneurship, in partnership with the Kentucky Innovation Network, sponsors and organizes Idea State U, a statewide business plan competition that encourages entrepreneurism among Kentuckys college and university students.

This years top-placed teams were among a record 51 entrants, which represented 18 Kentucky colleges and universities participating. Beginning in March, four preliminary regional rounds narrow those teams to 31 for the two-day final event held at Griffin Gate Marriott in Lexington on Friday and Saturday, April 22-23, 2016. Each team presented its business concept to a panel of judges for the opportunity to earn a share of a $100,000 prize pool. This years Idea State U competition boasted the most diverse group of participants to date. The top eight finishers four in each of two categories - included seven colleges and universities. Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton gave the keynote address at the awards ceremony and presented the awards to the winning teams.

MoveMe, a team from the University of Louisville College of Business, took home first place in the Business Plan category and $25,000. It is a mobile application that matches users with potential workout partners based on compatible fitness activities, levels and goals. Based on feedback from more than 200 interviewees the apps developers recognized exercise is most effective with others, and partners promote accountability and competition. The MoveMe app provides helps users find a workout partner with shared interests, skills and availability.

Student teams will continue to work with the Kentucky Innovation Network to pursue their business goals. Consisting of 13 offices throughout the state, the Kentucky Innovation Network helps entrepreneurs and small business owners at any stage whether just starting with an idea or already operating an established business to provide planning, guidance, access to capital, business connections and other resources.

The Idea State U competition is open to all post-secondary institutions in the Commonwealth. It identifies and supports the next generation of Kentucky innovators and entrepreneurs.

The Office of Entrepreneurship provides an array of services, programs and initiatives to encourage small business growth across Kentucky. The office works to coordinate the states focus and efforts in creating and promoting a strong culture of entrepreneurship.

For more information about Idea State U, visit www.IdeaStateU.com.

(Photo attached: OCTC Students Ellen Braden and Lacey Parham shortly after winning the Business Model category at the 2016 Idea State U competition.)