Launch a Business Program concludes with Liquid Art Winery & Estate and Vigilias Telemedicine taking grand prize honors
Monday, June 29, 2015
MANHATTAN — After a night that saw 14 entrepreneurs pitching their companies to the public at the Launch Party for the Kansas State University Launch a Business, or LAB, program, two companies have walked away victorious as grand prizewinners for 2015.
Liquid Art Winery & Estate, Manhattan, was chosen as the grand prizewinner in the global food systems division, while Vigilias Telemedicine, Wichita, was named the grand prizewinner in the open division. Each company was awarded a $10,000 cash prize for its win.
The Launch Party was the culmination of the five-week LAB program, which was sponsored by KS State Bank and the College of Business Administration's Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship. The program has provided the 14 selected startups with much-needed resources, including faculty-led courses, hands-on student research teams and access to the university's world-class alumni mentor network.
At the event, the entrepreneurs had the opportunity to pitch their businesses to the public. Each person attending could cast one vote for his or her favorite startup, which was combined with a judge's panel vote to decide the overall winners.
"One of our university's goals is to support economic development and growth in the state of Kansas," said Chad Jackson, director of the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship. "We developed K-State LAB as a way to reach out and support the entrepreneurs in the state. Our faculty, alumni mentors and students are incredible resources, and the LAB program allows us to share their expertise with the community."
Liquid Art Winery & Estate will be one of the few wineries in the Midwest to primarily focus on growing European grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. It will be coming to the Manhattan area in 2015.
"The program has been great — the connections we've made through the mentors and other businesses around the state have been invaluable,” said David Tegtmeier, who along with his wife, Danielle, is the owner of Liquid Art Winery & Estate. "The LAB program really allowed us to step back from the day-to-day activities of our business and focus on the big-picture details that we don't necessarily get to look at every day."
Vigilias Telemedicine plans to improve medical services and access to care in rural communities by making tertiary-level consultants and medical providers available through telemedicine.
"The LAB student research team was fantastic — they did marketing analysis and financial projections among many other things that will continue to be a huge help moving forward," said Charles Coffey, owner of Vigilias Telemedicine. "The mentors also were a fantastic resource, and we all gained an invaluable amount of information and connections. It's really great to see business people from around the state coming together to invest their time in startup companies."
The grand prizewinners weren't the only ones to walk away with a prize following the Launch Party. Two companies were chosen for the Mentor's Choice Award, with a $5,000 cash prize, which was chosen by a vote of the alumni mentors who participated throughout the program. The Mentor's Choice for the open division was Acre Designs, Kansas City, while the global food systems division went to America's Best Steaks, Hill City.
The public vote also allowed the companies to receive cash and in-kind prizes from a pool that totaled more than $90,000. The other startups who participated in the 2015 Launch a Business program were F3 Enterprises and Spray Mark, both from Colby; Harvest Homes, El Dorado; Obermeyer Heritage Farms, Gypsum; Eck Fabrication, Kingman; Can-Coctions and Vapor Works, both from Manhattan; Kitchen4Hire, Salina; and AEGLE Palette and Alvoru Clothing, both from Shawnee.
More information on the Launch a Business program and the entrepreneurs is available at http://www.k-state.edu/lab.