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K-State College of Business Administration Accelerator program awards $100,000 to entrepreneurs

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Accelerator participants

The 10 start-up ventures selected for participation in the university's Accelerator program met in person on Demo Day. From left: Ruth Shrauner, Poshed On The Go; Kirk Pappan, Sandra Merkel-DeJames, Acclivity Technologies, Inc.; Yslam Akmyradov, Dost AI; Noah Bortnick, Tristan Threatt, Blackbox Digital Asset Management; Laura Owen, HealthyID; Crystal Webster, Sharing Solace; Courtney Younglove, Health Partners MD; Tyler Miller, Miller Enterprises; Harsha Moole, Find My Direct Doctor; Thomas Anderson, PillReady; and College of Business Administration Dean Kevin Gwinner. | Download this photo.



MANHATTAN — Ten entrepreneurs recently pitched their companies to a panel of judges during Demo Day, the culmination of the eight-week Accelerator program hosted by the Kansas State University College of Business Administration's Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship. PillReady, Wichita, was selected as the grand prize winner, earning $36,000 in funding for the startup.

The Accelerator program selected 10 startups last fall from nearly 70 applicants and provided them with much-needed resources, including faculty-led courses, hands-on student research teams and access to the university's world-class alumni mentor network. 

"The Accelerator allows us to share our unique resources with the broader entrepreneurial community," said Chad Jackson, Jack Vanier director of the university's Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship. "Our faculty, alumni mentors and students are incredible resources, and we are excited to share their expertise to support startup ventures."

"I think this is a great program," said Tom Anderson, founder of PillReady. "Every cohort was dedicated, competitive and highly knowledgeable in their respective fields. We are already working on the budget for the funding to expedite the return on such a generous grant and continue to move PillReady forward to commercialization."

Each of the 10 companies was awarded a grant that ranged from $1,000 to $36,000. In total, $100,000 in equity-free funding was awarded. 

The startups that participated in the 2023 Accelerator are:

• Acclivity Technologies, Inc., Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina
• Blackbox, Kansas City.
• MyPal AI, Bothell, Washington.
• FindMyDirectDoctor, Topeka.
• Health Partners MD, Overland Park.
• HealthyID, Lenexa.
• PillReady, Wichita.
• Miller Enterprises, Manhattan.
• Poshed On the Go, Shawnee.
• Sharing Solace, Olathe.

"I had a fantastic experience through the KSU Accelerator program," said Ruth Shrauner, founder of Poshed on the Go and recipient of $23,500 in funding. "I learned so much and benefited greatly from meeting with the mentors who graciously gave us their time."

In another component of the Accelerator program, students in the Entrepreneurial Consulting class at K-State worked on a project for each of the Accelerator entrepreneurs under the direction of the faculty lead, Rachel Mui, assistant professor of management. 

The Accelerator entrepreneurs nominated students for consulting awards, and students nominated recipients for a faculty award and mentor award. These awards were presented during a ceremony on Demo Day.

Sabine Turnley, senior instructor of management, won the faculty award. Brent Depperschmidt, president and managing partner of Tallgrass Capital Investments, won the mentor award.

Tommy Chalfant, junior in entrepreneurship and innovation, Olathe; Carver Willis, junior in entrepreneurship and innovation, Hesperus, Colorado; and Olivia Lunceford, junior in finance, Lee's Summit, Missouri, took home first-place consulting awards. Each won a $1,000 prize. 

Kaia James, sophomore in business administration, Maize; Jordan Benelli, junior in business administration, Overland Park; and Matias Salama, junior in business administration, Paraguay, earned second-place awards. Each won $500. 

Samantha Kopecky, senior in business administration, Leawood; Eden Brockman, senior in mass communications, Overland Park; and Ryane Bieker, sophomore in business administration, Valley Center, won third-place awards. Each took home $100.

Visit the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship's website to learn more about the center and the Accelerator program. 

Media contact

Division of Communications and Marketing


K-State Accelerator

News tip

Kansas City, Leawood, Lenexa, Maize, Manhattan, Olathe, Overland Park, Shawnee, Topeka, Valley Center and Wichita, Kansas; Hesperus, Colorado; Lee's Summit, Missouri; Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina; and Bothell, Washington.

Written by

Ruthie Gergeni