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UofL Bootcamp Graduates New Cohort of Entrepreneurs and Innovators
Kentucky Ag Connection - 05/12/2022

The University of Louisville's LaunchIt entrepreneurial bootcamp has wrapped its spring 2022 session, graduating nine innovators and founders working to create cleaner fuels, improve internet access and more.

LaunchIt, through the UofL Office of Research and Innovation, is an intensive 10-week hybrid course focused on Steve Blank's lean launchpad methodology. The program includes coaching, mentoring and curriculum including lessons on customer discovery, product validation, marketing and other considerations when preparing for market launch.

The nine innovators/teams in the spring 2022 session are:

- Michelle Browning Coughlin, founder of Invested in Equity Alliance, focused on helping businesses to make data-driven, strategic investments in policies and practices to accelerate equity;

- Amy Shah, who's working on Brain Code, an app and website for seniors who want to sustain their brain health by learning computer literacy and computer science;

- Tucker Jewell, student, and Dennis Evans, a long-time UofL machine shop staffer who invented the DoorKeep, a lockdown device to ?prevent forced entry;

- Jane Applegate, founder of Exit Zero Communications, which helps companies with planning events, projects and programs;

- Ian Norris, an American Council on Education Fellow at UofL who's working on the Interactive Cycling Route Planner, an app meant to facilitate route planning and logistics for adventure cyclists in the Appalachian region;

- Karen Krigger, a UofL physician and faculty member, who's working on Genesis, facilitating access to the internet for improved health outcomes;

- Raven Williams, owner of Robust Marketing, who's launching Gateway, a sponsored content marketplace for the cannabis industry;

- Scott Ramser, who's working on of Staylonger, a platform that provides older adults with information, resources and vetted professionals to help them age in place;

- Saumya Gulati, a UofL chemical engineering student working with researcher Joshua Spurgeon to develop cleaner, hydrogen-based energy with water and sunlight.

Karen Krigger, UofL's Endowed Chair in Urban Health Policy whose background is in predominantly in medicine, said the program helped her to see her ideas through a business lens. Her idea was a good one, she said, "but I'm a doctor, and without having a business background, I didn't really know where to start. I think the 10 weeks of going through LaunchIt helped me to work through those components, breaking it down into manageable pieces, and find a way to take my idea and make it fiscally sound, sustainable and scalable."

The LaunchIt program is offered by UofL New Ventures, a group within the UofL Office of Research and Innovation that works to launch and grow startups, and is supported in part by Amplify Louisville. LaunchIt coaches include the office's Entrepreneurs in Residence, knowledgeable founders with an in-depth understanding of launching and growing a business. The program also taps into the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem for its speaker lineup, bringing in real-world experience and insights of local innovators, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

"I'm extremely pleased with the bold ideas represented by this cohort, and the progress we've seen them make in this session," said Will Metcalf, an associate vice president of research and innovation who leads UofL New Ventures. "This program creates important connectivity between industry and our campus, helping to launch new companies, ideas and economic development."

The next session of LaunchIt, beginning in fall 2022, is now enrolling. More information and registration is available at uofl.me/launchit.


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