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Kentucky Chia wins $10,000 in prize money and a bid to the 2012 Venture Labs Investment Competition (formerly Moot Corp)

 The University of Louisville won first place at the eighth annual 2012 University of Cincinnati (UC) Spirit of Enterprise Graduate Business Plan Competition, taking home the Cincom Systems $10,000 Champion Award and an automatic invitation to the 2012 Venture Labs Investment Competition (formerly Moot Corp).

The University of Cincinnati received first runner-up, the University of Oregon earned second runner-up and the University of Florida took home the top prize in the Taxi/Limo Round.


The Spirit of Enterprise, hosted and sponsored by Cincom, is an invitational forum for next generation entrepreneurs to “road test” business-venture concepts – ideas that may have a powerful effect on business and the world.

This year, 16 teams from universities across the nation competed, including Brigham Young University, the University of Manitoba, Kennesaw State University, Johns Hopkins University, Purdue University, Rice University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Arkansas, the University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Iowa, North Carolina State University and the University of Florida. They brought business plans varying from consumer to business focused in the fields of biotech, medical devices, education and even website creation.


The winning team’s (Zack Pennington, Keith Starling, Joanna Cruz and Scott Serdoz) business plan, Kentucky Chia, is promoting a unique line of patent-pending chia seeds that can prevent the two leading causes of premature death among horses. Chia seeds are an ancient super-food rich in fiber, antioxidants and protein, and are the highest concentration of plant-derived Omega-3s. Chia seeds are also the only source of Omega-3 that can be consumed without being processed.


Ischiban Neural Engineering Systems, the UC team of Pooja Kadambi, Joe Lovelace, Aaron Kurosu and Ronald Meyers, developed a comprehensive diagnostic and monitoring system for emergency, mobile and long-term applications for neurological assessment and status. Ichiban’s portable NeuroControler™ and NeuroSensor™ will dramatically reduce diagnostic and treatment time in stroke victims.


The University of Oregon’s team of Jake Heckathorn, Jeff Matthews and Brian Oehler presented their company, Corrosion Solutions. Corrosion Solutions is an oxidation protection company, providing treatment solutions for stainless steel and nickel alloys used in high temperature environments.


The University of Florida won the Taxi/Limo Round of Competition. Mirroring a chance encounter with a potential angel investor, teams must try to sell their business plan’s viability within 10 minutes on the road. Max Lemaitre and John Atkinson from Delta R Detection took the prize after best explaining their patented, highly adaptable detection platform that can sense dangerous chemicals on the surface of objects.

About the UC E-Center

Founded in 1997 by Matthews, the E-Center’s mission is to provide a state-of-the-art entrepreneurship curriculum and research base not only for potential student entrepreneurs and scholars, but also for people in the many organizations that interact with small, entrepreneurial and family-owned businesses. Success magazine has listed The University of Cincinnati as one of the top 50 programs for entrepreneurship in the U.S., and in 2008, The Princeton Review ranked UC the 21st best Undergraduate Entrepreneurship program in the country.