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Success Stories


Graduates of our internationally ranked INKUBATOR program go on to turn their entrepreneurial ideas into viable businesses. Read about one of the successes below.
Pelican Logo


Q&A with Sadie Borchers, Founder of Pelican


Tell us about your business/concept.

It was actually a product, and I was the only one in the class with a physical product. It was a farm implementation tool which was basically a product expansion of an existing hay spear model that’s out there currently. I was sitting on the side of a tractor with my dad, not being overly helpful, and he was backing up, trying to pick up a round bale, which weighs anywhere between 5-12 hundred pounds. He’s been driving tractors since he was very young, so there was really no user error, it was a combination of the ground being a little bit slick and it’s on a hill and the bale was a little loose, but I had an epiphany moment where I couldn’t believe nobody’s done anything to change or modify this to make it beneficial for small farmers who still use that level of equipment. I started thinking about it, drawing up plans and putting ideas together: I had seen signs for two years in a row for the INKUBATOR program and put the whole concept together to prepare it for that.

What attracted you to the INKUBATOR? Why is it a good fit for you/your idea?

I had seen it around campus for a couple years in a row and had actually submitted ideas prior to the one which got accepted, and I had the self-starter mentality that meant I felt as though that would be a good fit for me, starting from the ground up.

How did the INKUBATOR help you bring your idea to life?

It was completely from the ground up, it was everything from “well you do have this concept, but is it enough of a headache and a problem for other people”, making sure there’s a customer base and it would be a big enough headache that other people would buy into it and knowing what the market would look like and what other competitors might be out there; it was everything from the very beginning to yes, now we’re ready to move forward toward a patent.

What is the most important lesson you learned during this process?

The biggest obstacle to overcome was deciding and coming up with how to determine I would have a customer base without giving away my entire idea and product, which I hadn’t necessarily thought about before I entered the program.

How has the INKUBATOR changed your outlook on entrepreneurship?

It gave me an overall business-minded concept; thinking that way, in general, has completely changed my perspective, even in the workforce. Things that I do now on a day to day basis alongside my product, and other startups that I hear about in the community. The networking, and the people I’ve crossed paths with, there’s an endless list of ways that it’s changed my ways of thinking.

How has INKUBATOR impacted your life?

The people that I’ve been connected with have helped me along with the patent process, and that was really the coolest thing. There are so many people involved in the startup community in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area, it was very eye-opening and interesting not only to make those connections but also to be introduced to that world and thinking that way.