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Launch a Business program selects 14 Kansas startup ventures to receive resources for success

Thursday, May 14, 2015


MANHATTAN — The Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship at Kansas State University has selected 14 high-potential startup ventures for participation in the university's second Launch a Business program, powered by KS State Bank.

The selected businesses will take part in a five-session summer program, receiving much-needed resources, including faculty-led courses, hands-on student research teams and access to the university's world-class alumni mentor network. The Launch a Business, or LAB, program is specifically intended for early-stage companies and will provide the building blocks for turning a concept into a successful venture.

The LAB program will take place from May 28 to June 25. Program organizers invite all alumni and supporters of the university and the regional startup ecosystem to a closing celebration on June 25 at the K-State Alumni Center. The event will feature presentations from all program participants and the public will be asked to vote for an overall winner of the program.

"K-State LAB is designed to support promising entrepreneurs with the university's unique resources to help advance their business concept and ultimately create jobs in Kansas," said Chad Jackson, director of the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship. "I was thrilled with the overwhelming support and interest we received in the program's first year, and I look forward to working with these entrepreneurs and making year No. 2 even better."

Criteria for selection included identifying a real problem and an innovative solution, demonstrating the drive to succeed and ability to incorporate feedback, and showing commitment to the idea and the Launch a Business program.

The following 14 startup ventures were chosen for the 2015 class:

• F3 Enterprises, Colby, strives to provide organic fish and vegetables grown in a symbiotic, recirculating ecosystem.

• Spray Mark, Colby, offers a commercial sprayer that has a patented foam marking system and a regulator valve that can be used in many applications, including lawn service, golf courses, school districts and farm use among many other possibilities.

• Harvest Homes, El Dorado, a dementia-specific home that will give residents a familylike atmosphere to age in peace.

• Obermeyer Heritage Farms, Gypsum, a natural farming and gardening business that will use only heirloom types of vegetables and heritage breeds of livestock. Their mission is to raise awareness of these varieties, help people eat healthier and become more self-sufficient by means of workshops, literature and one-on-one assistance.

• America's Best Steaks, Hill City, was founded by beefeaters, for beefeaters. The company produces naturally tender beef steak at a reasonable price by using grandpa's technique of dry-aging that is combined with modern technology.

• Acre Designs, Kansas City, is reinventing the American home to be sustainable, smart and affordable. Its designs, processes and technology are focused on delivering more value to homeowners, while streamlining operations for its network of builders.

• Eck Fabrication, Kingman, a metal fabrication company that uses manufacturing capabilities to develop new and innovative products.

• Can-Coctions, Manhattan, combines recreation and innovation with its' product, the Can-Panion Cup Holder, which allows you to take your favorite beverage along in any sit-inside kayak or canoe that comes with or without a cup holder.

• Liquid Art Winery and Estate, Manhattan. Liquid Art 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.

• Vapor Works, Manhattan, is entering the drone industry, building electronic controls for different types of remotely piloted aircraft.

• Kitchen4Hire, Salina, is a shared-use licensed commercial kitchen that will provide an incubator environment for food entrepreneurs growing their business and for community partners who provide food preparation and preservation education.

• AEGLE Palette, Shawnee, the world's first digital dietitian. AEGLE enables people to measure and monitor calories and nutrient intake, and enables users to control a family's dietary needs with a smart device, both at a dining table at home or away from the home.

• Alvoru Clothing, Shawnee, is designed for women who want feminine, classic and comfortable clothes that provide balance with challenges of hormonal fluctuations that cause hot flashes and night sweats.

• Vigilias Telemedicine, Wichita, plans to improve medical services and access to care in rural communities by making tertiary-level consultants and medical providers available through telemedicine.


Chad Jackson


Launch a Business

News tip

Colby, El Dorado, Gypsum, Hill City, Kansas City, Kingman, Manhattan, Salina, Shawnee and Wichita

Written by

Brent Fritzemeier

At a glance

Fourteen Kansas startup ventures have been selected for the second Launch A Business program, offered through the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship in Kansas State University's College of Business Administration.