May 4, 2022 - Three startups representing Northern Kentucky University completed a near-sweep of a recent statewide, intercollegiate pitch competition. Each of the three early stage businesses placed in the competition and collectively walked away with $23,000 in prizes to continue to develop and pursue their business ideas.
KY Pitch, an annual competition for students from Kentucky’s post-secondary universities and colleges, was held April 16 in Lexington, KY, and three out of seven winning teams were from NKU. Finalists competed across two tracks: exploratory, for newly formed ideas; and developed, for already existing ventures.
On Dogs, a company that specializes in 100-percent waterproof collars and leashes founded by Megan Burriss, took first place in the developed track and a $15,000 prize. In her pitch, Burriss passionately presented that On Dogs solves the issues of traditional dog collars, which absorb water, dirt and oil from your dog’s neck, creating a breeding ground for bacteria.
With her winnings, Burriss hopes to take On Dogs to new heights.
“The next step in my entrepreneurial journey is to build an online presence for my company through the implementation of a website and social media pages. The money awarded to On Dogs will aid in that development as well as digital advertising in the near future,” she said.
Peachy and Vintage, a multiplatform thrift and vintage clothing store, placed second in the developed track and received $7,000. Peachy and Vintage, co-founded by students Caden Adams and Kayla Braden, is also the current tenant of Renaissance Covington’s Pike St. Pop Up, a quarterly rotating retail space for small businesses. With their lease expiring in June, Adams and Braden are actively searching for a permanent space to continue growing their venture.
The Spirit for Entrepreneurship went to Style House by Brittany, an event design service founded by Brittany Styles that cultivates lavish environments.
“Being awarded the Spirit of Entrepreneurship showed me that others see value in what I do, which means so much for entrepreneurs. I learned more about myself, my business and how to better present it to others,” Styles said.
Each of the four NKU students who competed and placed, credit their success to their involvement with the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Housed in NKU’s Haile College of Business, the CIE allows students to take ownership of their future through innovation and entrepreneurial activities. Many students take the classroom concepts and start their own business through its internationally ranked 12-week business accelerator, the INKUBATOR.
All three startups have been accepted into the 2022 INKUBATOR cohort and will spend the summer developing their concepts with mentoring, access to capital, connections and flexiblse office spaces.
“This demonstrates the dedication of our faculty, and the hard work of our students as they shape the future through their entrepreneurial pursuits,” said Dr. Hassan HassabElnaby, dean of the Haile College of Business. “I couldn’t be prouder of how these students represented our college as they continue turning their dreams into reality.”
About the Haile College of Business: With more than 2,000 students, the Haile College of Business’ goal is to educate and connect with the northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati business community by delivering globally relevant, innovative and sustainable programs and practices. The college offers 12 undergraduate degrees and three master’s level programs. For more information, visit its website.
About NKU: Founded in 1968, NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of over 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. We are a regionally engaged university committed to empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit nku.edu.