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MSU student team secures place in Idea State U finals

Staff report

MURRAY -- 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 Saturday.

The first in a series of regional competitions across the state was held March 27 at Owensboro Community College. Nineteen 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 through interaction. With a software app that has been developed, a child can speak to the 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. 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.

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