Indiana, Kentucky high school students complete weeklong entrepreneurship program, earn tuition vouchers

June 26, 2014  


NEW ALBANY, Ind. - Indiana and Kentucky high school students could advance economic development in their hometowns after learning about the entrepreneurial process during a recent weeklong event.

Business leaders and experts from Purdue Research Park of Southeast Indiana and Indiana University Southeast's School of Business introduced the students to the world of entrepreneurship during the second annual Entrepreneurship Academy at New Albany. It is based on a national award-winning program held annually on the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette.

Twenty-five students from six counties in Indiana and Kentucky received high-tech business cases at the beginning of the academy, and each has been the basis of an existing company. Participating students were from Bullitt, Clark, Floyd, Jefferson, Jennings and Vanderburgh counties.

Teams tested their technology's viability, identified capital needs and devised a management plan for business cases during the week. On the last day of the academy, they made investor presentations to judges. The highest-scoring team won tuition vouchers.

Breeze++ was awarded first place and $500 vouchers. The students, their high schools and hometowns are: Clayton Ellington, duPont Manual High School, Louisville; Brett Kern, Doss High School, Louisville; Kyle Kinney, Community Montessori, Floyds Knobs, Indiana; Stephanie Price, New Albany High School, New Albany, Indiana; and Hailey Tolliver, North Bullitt High School, Louisville. The team's mentor was Ed Fancher, a local serial entrepreneur and engineering consultant.

Additionally, participants selected one of their peers to receive the Entrepreneurial Award of Distinction and a $500 voucher. This year's recipient was Emily Elkins, William Henry Harrison High School, Evansville, Indiana.

Other teams participating in the second annual academy were:

Almega: Kessandra Ballard, North Bullitt High School, Louisville; Kunal Bhanushali, New Albany High School, New Albany, Indiana; Jacob Steele, Silver Creek High School, Sellersburg, Indiana; Kathryn Wathen, Jennings County High School, North Vernon, Indiana; and Kendrick Yuen, duPont Manual High School, Louisville. The team's mentor was Felicia Allen of Velocity.

BugBox: Grayson Buttler, Community Montessori, Memphis, Indiana; Rachel Esarey, Jeffersonville High School, Jeffersonville, Indiana; Thomas Jackson, J. Graham Brown School, Louisville; Sarah Schwartz, duPont Manual High School, Louisville; and Mitchell Traylor, Silver Creek High School, Sellersburg, Indiana. The team's mentor was Kelby Price of DigiDoctor.

Cutane: Sarah Brown, Silver Creek High School, Sellersburg, Indiana; Connor Dosch, Saint Xavier High School, Louisville; Emily Elkins, William Henry Harrison High School, Evansville, Indiana; Isaiah Hickman, New Albany High School, New Albany, Indiana; and Harley Ledbetter, North Bullitt High School, Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The team's mentor was Matt Langan of Pivot.

Polymer Protection: Sidney Blair, Pleasure Ridge Park High School, Louisville; Keval Butala, New Albany High School, New Albany, Indiana; Patrick Grady, Madison Consolidated High School, Madison, Indiana; Martin Walsh, duPont Manual High School, Louisville; and Samantha Wathen, Jennings County High School, North Vernon, Indiana. The team's mentor was Jyll Stuart of Veracity Technologies.

Chris Levensen, serial entrepreneur, investor and entrepreneur-in-residence at Durham Labs, was the awards ceremony keynote speaker. Judges were Bryce Butler of Blue Sky Foundation; Greg Langdon, an angel investor; Pat More of Duke Energy; and Dr. Jay White, dean of Indiana University Southeast's School of Business.

Duke Energy Foundation was the headline partner for the academy. Other partners included Blue Sky Foundation, Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County, Ogle Foundation, Terry Lynn's Catering and Velocity. The Purdue Foundry was an organizer of the Entrepreneurship Academy at New Albany.

About Purdue Research Park

The Purdue Research Park is the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country. The Purdue Research Park manages the Purdue Technology Centers in four sites in Indiana, located in West Lafayette, Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany. The more than 260 companies located in the park network employ about 4,500 people who earn an average annual wage of $63,000. The park is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year by the National Business Incubator Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org.

Writer: Vibha Salgamay, 765-588-5619, vsalgamay@prf.org 

Purdue Research Park contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, sgmartin@prf.org 

Source: Paul Moses, 812-206-8399, pemoses@prf.org

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