K-State Launch inspires innovation

The new business administration building shows off its new modern look on the east end of campus. (Nick Horvath | Collegian Media Group)

Wildcat inventors and entrepreneurs came together for the ninth annual K-State Launch Tuesday at the Business Building, and some of them walked away with cash prizes for their ideas.

Launch is an entrepreneurial idea competition for K-State students with new business ideas open to all Kansas State students.

Chad Jackson, Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship director, said the event was designed in order to provide a platform for any students with entrepreneurship ideas. Jackson said individuals and teams alike have been working since the beginning of the semester for a chance to win the grand prize of $2,000.

“Seeing the hard work payoff and success of these students is my favorite part of Launch,” Jackson said.

Grant Giardino, freshman in accounting, worked on a team that developed an idea for healthy vending machines called the Health Hut. Ultimately, the group, comprised of Giardino, Morgan Meadows, freshman in business administration, and Brooke Montgomery, sophomore in business administration, finished in sixth, leaving with $500.

“The most challenging part of this project was coming up with something different and unique to help students around campus,” Giardino said.

Katie Small, instructor of entrepreneurship for the department of management, said K-State faculty were removed from the judging process to prevent “bias” in the competition.

Many of the faculty involved in Launch have these students in their classes, so they want to make sure it’s judged completely on the quality of their companies and ideas. Instead, the five judges came from the entrepreneurship advising board.

Small said the judging wasn’t solely based on whose idea sounded the best, but was also ranked based on market opportunity, business model and management capability as well as a few other criteria.