MURRAY, Ky. — The Kentucky Innovation Network (KIN) Office at Murray State University is proud to announce that a team of students from Murray State University secured a place in the finals of the statewide Idea State U business plan competition, which takes place on April 22.

The first in a series of regional competitions across the state was held on March 27 at Owensboro Community College. 19 teams competed for a place in the finals and the chance to win a share of $100,000 in prize money. Bilingual Buddies, a company founded by Murray State students Edward Milan, Willis Holmes and Corie Fitch, won a spot in the business plan finals. Bilingual Buddies are interactive stuffed pets that teach children another language though interaction. With the special software app that has been developed, a child can speak to their pet in English, and it will repeat their words back to them in another language.

Idea State U is Kentucky’s statewide business plan competition, designed to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship by rewarding student teams from the commonwealth’s colleges and universities.

In the history of Idea State U, 647 students have participated in 224 teams, and over $900,000 in prize money has been awarded. Last year in 2016, Mason Shelton, a Murray State student competed and won second place and $15,000 in the finals.

Other Murray State University students who competed in the regionals were Jacob Price, Stuart Boyd, Matthew Skinner and Carter Sholar.

Three additional teams who work with the Kentucky Innovation Network office at Murray State placed in the finals. They are from Hopkinsville Community College and the University Of Kentucky Paducah School Of Engineering.

About The Kentucky Innovation Network – Murray Office: The Office of Entrepreneurship within the Cabinet for Economic Development oversees the twelve offices of the Kentucky Innovation Network and other services, programs and initiatives to encourage small business growth and create and promote a strong culture of entrepreneurship statewide. Since 2001 the Kentucky Innovation Network has created a network of business leaders and mentors that encourage relationships, grow new and existing companies and create jobs. The Network is managed in partnership with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, along with local partners, including Murray State University. Each office is staffed by experienced and educated business leaders.

The Kentucky Innovation Network (KIN) Office at Murray State University is proud to announce that a team of students from Murray State University secured a place in the finals of the statewide Idea State U Business Plan Competition, which takes place on April 22. Bilingual Buddies, a company founded by Murray State students (from left to right) Willis Holmes, Corie Fitch and Edward Milan, won a spot in the business plan finals.