MANHATTAN — After a night that saw 11 entrepreneurs pitching their companies to a panel of judges and the public at theLaunch Party for the Kansas State University Launch a Business, or LAB, program, two companies have walked away victorious as grand prize winners for 2017.
The judges chose Precision Microwave, Manhattan, as the grand prize winner in the open division, which came with a prize of $14,570 in funding. Embruon, Salina, was named the grand prize winner in the Global Food Systems division and received $11,300 in funding.
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 provided the 11 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 his or her vote for the Crowd Favorite Award, which went to Pinnacle Performance, Manhattan.
“One of our university’s goals is to support the 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.”
Precision Microwave is a medical device company focused on the development of advanced thermal therapy applicators for minimally invasive cancer treatment.
“The faculty seminars were great and solidified a lot of concepts for us,” said Austin Pfannenstiel, founder of Precision Microwave. “The mentor network was fantastic; everyone gave so much tremendous advice about refining my business plan.”
Embruon aims to help cattle producers manage the challenging genomic world with technology, allowing producers to make informed genomic decisions before pregnancy has begun to maximize genetic improvement and minimize the cost of resources used.
“The time set aside to visit and learn from the mentors is something you just can’t put a price on,” said Matt Barten, owner of Embruon. “We are excited to continue to scale the business in this growing market.”
The grand prize winners weren’t the only ones to walk away with a prize following the Launch Party – each of the 11 companies were awarded funding that ranged from $2,000-$7,500. The other startups that participated in the 2017 Launch a Business program were: Rev-E3, Beloit; Double L Manufacturing, Clay Center; Flint Hills Lavender Farm, Council Grove; Heartland Heritage, Derby; Bridges, Manhattan; Pip’s Bake Shoppe, Manhattan; Salina; MperVus, Shawnee; and Print3 Technologies, Shawnee.