Bucks for Bright Ideas opens entries

Emma Collins

Kentucky entrepreneurs can now compete to make their ideas come to life.

Bucks for Bright Ideas, a competition that seeks to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into a business, is now accepting applications for its 2016 competition.

The competition, which is hosted by the Kentucky Innovation Network, is open to people of all ages from 27 counties including Warren County. All WKU students are allowed to compete regardless of their hometown.

Lynn Minton, assistant director of the Bowling Green Office for the Kentucky Innovation Network, said the program is designed to give innovative people a chance to turn their ideas into a business.

“[It’s] a marketing campaign to encourage individuals to start a business, to take their idea and move it forward and hopefully be able to start a business with it,” Minton said.

Dawn Bolton, the director for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said the Gordon Ford College of Business advertises the competition to all its students.

“We promote the program in our classes, through our social media, and through our work in the Center, in the hopes that many of our entrepreneurial and innovative students will take advantage of this great program,” Bolton stated in an email. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for entrepreneurial students to expose their innovative ideas beyond the classroom.”

Whitney Peake, professor in the business college, said students receive inspiration for ideas from a wide range of sources, but the inspiration primarily comes from problems the students face in their daily lives.

“If you’re thinking about the creative process, where you always start is by identifying problems, and that’s where most students start with their business ideas,” Peake said.

Minton said the competition, which has run for more than five years, usually receives anywhere from 80 to 100 entries. Several winners are chosen each year to receive various prizes.

“They’re not really cash prizes; they are prizes that are donated from an individual that is providing services that can help move their business forward,” Minton said. “It could be an array of things that an entrepreneur would probably not have expertise in but would need to move the business forward.”

Minton said she believes all the applicants come in with good ideas that have the potential to grow into a business; however, the winning ideas are the ones that are the most viable and have available resources.

“We like to look at primarily what resources we have that can move their idea forward,” Minton said.

Even if an applicant is not chosen as a winner, Minton said, the program will still work with the applicant to develop the applicant’s idea.

“We like to work with everybody to take their idea further,” Minton said.

The applications are due April 22, and the awards will be announced on May 4 at an awards banquet.