UK comes up big in business plan competition

University of Kentucky business students came away with high honors from the state Cabinet for Economic Development's recent business plan competition.

UK's undergraduate concept team, which pitched a company that would produce alternative energy, won first place in its category and nearly $2,500 in award money. Team members were Matt Dieruf, a freshman electrical engineering major, and Matthew Menard, a senior marketing and management major.

UK's graduate student team that pitched a fast casual Indian restaurant took second place in the business plan division and earned more than $21,000. Team members, all of whom are first-year MBA students, were Matt Cooper of Cynthiana, Michael Jones of Georgetown and Sharath Vemuri of Hyderabad, India. Team members were approached by two private equity groups about future funding for their Mantra Indian Grill.

The top cash award went to a team of University of Louisville graduate students who pitched a business that would produce personalized and highly targeted marketing and advertising messages on retailers' shipping packages.

They earned more than $43,000 for their proposed venture.