Students from across Kentucky compete in Alltech competition

LEXINGTON, Ky (WKYT) - College students from across the state met in Lexington Saturday to take part in a competition that awards cash for business ideas.

The competition gave graduate and undergraduate students from seven different Kentucky schools a chance to see what it was like to pitch their business ideas to investors.

It was the fifth Alltech Innovation Competition.

The event gives out two $10,000 awards to students who present their business ideas to a group of judges.

"What it does every year is honor the Kentucky students that have entrepreneurial aspirations," said Meghan Niehaus, the coordinator of the event.

Students from University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, University of Pikeville, Western Kentucky University, Morehead State University, Eastern Kentucky University, and Bellarmine University were part of the competition.

The challenge is broken up in undergraduate proposals and proposals from students in graduate school.

The groups give a 15 minute simulated investor pitch.

The program originally focused on Alltech's core businesses of agribusiness and food, but this year it was opened to all ideas.

"We went through our business model, the risks, the competitive advantages we have, the market we're going, at the strategy," said Steven Von Gerlachter, a graduate student at the University of Louisville

The Western Kentucky University undergraduate team, including students Taylor Wathen, Blake Knott and Zachary Wathen captured the undergraduate first place prize with their venture Tech Gnar. The program and database uses hundreds of complex measurements to suggest songs to users that are tailor-made to their musical interests. They are planning to launch their website and an app at the end of the year.

The University of Kentucky graduate team, including students Fletcher Young and Zach Yonts captured the graduate first place prize with their venture Stillage Solutions. By using leftover stillage from the brewing and distilling process to produce activated carbon, the team hopes to develop a low-cost, high-quality and more environmentally friendly activated carbon product than what is currently developed using coal, coconut shells and wood.

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