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Berea students have award-winning IDEAS

April 20, 2010: Two teams from Berea College took home prizes at the recent Appalachian IDEAS Network social entrepreneurship competition hosted by the University of Kentucky Appalachian Center.

Berea students win the Appalachian IDEAS contest.

The Appalachian IDEAS competition provides the opportunity for students to learn about social entrepreneurship and to create innovative ventures that address unmet needs in Appalachian communities.

The award for the innovation and business plan with the Most Potential to Positively Impact an Appalachian Community went to Berea students Rachel Mason, Codie Monhollen, Brandi Vaughn, and Kyle Horn -- all of them first-year students -- for their presentation on SmartPhone Tours in Kentucky River Area Development District. Their venture would provide an iTunes compatible audio and visual self-guided walking tour of the cultural, heritage and adventure tourism assets in the Kentucky River Area Development District. These students took home $1000 to help develop their concept into a business.

Berea junior Hong Durandal won the Best Presentation award and a prize of $500 for an energy audit business, The Energy Exposure Agency. It was also named the best concept overall. His plan incorporated current energy audit practices with a new business model that would make implementation of cost-saving energy rehabs possible for low-income homeowners.

“IDEAS promotes the creation of ‘local’ enterprises, which are owned by and employ local people,” said Sarah Frank, this year’s coordinator. The Appalachian IDEAS competition places emphasis on creating enterprises for the social good, and teaching students the importance of a “triple bottom line,” found in companies that are socially and ecologically responsible as well as financially profitable.

Four other teams competed this year from East Tennessee State University, Eastern Kentucky University, and the University of Kentucky; each had 15 minutes to pitch an innovative business proposal to a panel of experienced entrepreneurs. In addition to the Berea winners, East Tennessee State University teams received “Best Application of Principles of Sustainability” and “Best Business Plan” awards.

The Appalachian IDEAS competition, held in April each year, is open to teams of students from colleges and universities across the Appalachian region. Each team must have a faculty mentor.

Dr. Peter Hackbert mentored the Berea students. Dr. Hackbert is the co-director of Entrepreneurship for the Public Good, a multi-year educational and training program for undergraduate students to practice and implement entrepreneurial leadership in rural communities of Central Appalachia.

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