Research Foundation News

November 16, 2016

Army veteran, Purdue entrepreneurial boot camp graduate wins national pitch competition

Kirk Kudrna Kirk Kudrna (Photo Provided)
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SYRACUSE, N.Y.  – Kirk Kudrna, U.S. Army veteran and graduate of the Purdue Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, won first place at the 2016 Institute for Veterans and Military Families Virtual Pitch Competition for his mobile messaging app.

Kudrna walked away with $4,000 in prize money after submitting his winning 90-second elevator pitch for his startup company, Grit Trader.

The competition hosted by Syracuse University Nov. 5-10 allowed military veterans who have graduated from one of 10 Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities schools across the country to submit their 90-second video pitches on their new innovation, business service or product to a panel of judges.

Kudrna is a graduate of Purdue's eighth annual Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities program, which concluded Oct. 29. The course includes an online learning program, a nine-day on-campus residency session and a 12-month mentorship with faculty experts for qualifying veterans who have suffered a service-related disability.

Purdue's program is hosted by the Krannert School of Management and includes a portion involving Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator.

"The mentorship I received from the Purdue staff was critical," Kudrna said. "Purdue leaders continued to help, coach and mentor even after I left campus. They have gone above and beyond what I expected of the program."

Grit Trader is a mobile messaging application for agriculture operators and ranchers to share resources starting in his home state of Nebraska, Kudrna said. Users can send a message to a trusted group of contacts to ask for assistance in sharing resources. He plans to take the application nationwide.

In addition to the competition money, he was also awarded $1,000 from Purdue's bootcamp for his pitch.

"While there are nine other Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities universities around the country, Purdue is unique in offering our vets the chance to learn entrepreneurship and develop their business plans in the Purdue Foundry," said Richard Cosier, dean emeritus and Leeds Professor of Management at Purdue's Krannert School of Management as well as the academic director of Purdue's bootcamp. "The Foundry is really the distinctive advantage we offer our participants in the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities."

About Purdue Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities

The Purdue Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans With Disabilities is a comprehensive online learning program, a nine-day on-campus residency session and a 12-month mentorship with faculty experts for qualifying military veterans who have suffered a service-related disability. Hosted by the Krannert School of Management, the program has graduated more than 150 veterans since 2009. For more information contact ebv@purdue.edu

About Purdue Foundry

The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups. Managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, the Purdue Foundry received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year by the National Business Incubation 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: Curt Slyder, 765-588-3342, caslyder@prf.org

Sources: Kirk Kudrna, 402-819-7875, kirk@grittrader.com

Muna Oto, 765-494-4392, mdestefa@purdue.edu

Richard Cosier, 765-494-4353, rcosier@purdue.edu


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