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Michael Hart, Wes Murphy take 1st in entrepreneurial contest
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By Duane Bonifer, LWC Director of Public Relations
COLUMBIA, KY - For a pair Lindsey Wilson College students, necessity was truly the mother of invention. It also paid off.
LWC students Michael Hart of Indianapolis and Wes Murphy of Clarksville, TN won first place in the fourth-annual LWC Entrepreneurial & Career Expo, held Nov. 5 in the college's Norma & Glen Hodge Center for Discipleship.
Murphy and Hart created Bison Outdoor Equipment, a company that turns discarded raft material into waterproof backpacks that can be used in rugged outdoor environments. For the winning idea, they received $1,000, which they plan to invest in developing their concept into a business plan.
"We do a lot of caving around here," Hart said. "A lot of the backpacks we use are cheap and not up to snuff for the rigors we put them through."
So Hart and Murphy took a discarded raft seat and upcycled the material into a backpack that is waterproof and stays close to a person's body, which is especially helpful for spelunkers when they have to call through tight spaces.
Hart and Murphy were among 133 students who made up 46 teams in this year's Entrepreneurial & Career Expo, which is sponsored by the LWC Center for Entrepreneurship. That's the best participation in the event's history, according to LWC Business Division Chair Linda McKinley-Grider.
Students pitched their business concepts to four judges, who evaluated the ideas based on creativity, originality and presentation.
McKinley-Grider said many of the student teams who competed in the Entrepreneurial & Career Expo will turn their ideas into business plans and then compete at a spring event sponsored by the LWC Center for Entrepreneurship.
"We just want students to think outside of the box," McKinley-Grider said. "They could be solving a problem or improving on a current product -- just to be creative, that is the whole concept."
Kentucky Innovation Network Assistant State Director Christine Wildes, who was one of the expo's judges, said that real-world events help students understand what it takes to compete in an entrepreneurial economy. (The other judges were: Dan Galloway, Fastenal district manager; Eric Hartman of the Kentucky Science and Technology Corp.; and Lisa Williams, Kentucky Innovation Network Elizabethtown Office director.)
"Not only do students gain valuable experiences by creating a business, but then they see the competition around them, the other ideas, and the problems that are being solved and how they are being solved," she said. "It lets students students see that they have something to offer, and that they do have an opportunity to create their own business and go forward rather than just working for somebody else."
This story was posted on 2015-11-09 09:08:02
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