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Kentucky Wins Big at the Alltech Innovation Competition

April 24, 2018

The University of Louisville wins the 2014 Alltech Innovation Competition

Thirty brilliant young minds from eight Kentucky universities came together today at the second annual Alltech Innovation Competition at Bluegrass Community & Technical College in Lexington, Kentucky to present their business ideas for creating jobs in the Commonwealth and improving the food and agribusiness industries.

If you’ve ever watched ABC’s “Shark Tank,” you know the stakes are high for the competitors – impress the judges, and earn the chance to make your business dream come true. With $20,000 from Alltech in total cash prizes at stake, students prepared intently for months leading up to the competition to develop innovative ideas and deliver comprehensive, awe-inspiring business plans in their presentations to wow judges and potential Kentucky investors who could ultimately fund their projects.

Last year, the grand prize of $10,000 – the same amount of money that Dr. Pearse Lyons initially invested to found Alltech in 1980 -- went to the University of Kentucky team for their idea for reclaiming mountaintops with switchgrass for fuel.

But were they able to maintain their dominion at the top?

This year’s results may evoke comments on the long-established state-wide basketball rivalry, as the school’s fierce rival, U of L, took home the top title with Trifecta Cooking Equipment’s patented FuturFry deep fryer. The patented technology will help restaurant operators save 40 percent on annual cooking oil costs by extending the life of cooking oil, and increasing energy efficiency. 

When presenting the $10,000 check to the team, Dr. Pearse Lyons said, “It wasn’t oil or using less energy that caught mine and the judges’ attention. It was the possibility that this innovation has to improve food production all around the world.”  

Congratulations to the winning team. We look forward to seeing the results of your implementation and wish you continued success. Kudos also to the runner-up for the grand prize, Morehead State University, who presented Omega-3 enriched pork from The Better Pork Company.  

And don’t fret UK fans, the University of Kentucky still took home the “Alltech Choice Award,” recognizing their excellence in innovation for their business, Arymza Technologies, which produces enzymes that assist in the processing of starch.

As Dr. Lyons stated in his closing remarks, because of the winning team’s success, and the success of the teams from all eight universities that presented today, the state of Kentucky is the true winner. Today, our great state came away with eight incredible innovative ideas from eight universities from across the Commonwealth, and now it’s integral that we keep these bright young students in our state to ensure innovation in Kentucky will continue to race forward. For more information on the Alltech Innovation Competition, visit

To see more photos from the event see the album on Alltech's Facebook page.