Growing up around a building materials business, Andrew Pennington of Richmond said he often wondered what happened to surplus or salvage building materials after contractors finished a job.
“I realized that many of these unused or overstocked building materials were simply sitting around on job sites or wasting away in warehouses,” Pennington, a student at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), said. “That is when I had a ‘light bulb’ moment. Why not give contractors somewhere to liquidate their surplus materials?”
Thus, “Contractor Yard Sale”—an online classifieds database for construction contractors and suppliers to buy and sell surplus and salvage building materials—was born.
Pennington’s business idea and newly launched business was declared the winner in the eighth annual Excellence in Entrepreneurship Collegiate Business Concept Challenge. The competition is a component of the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards (EIEA) program, which honors the region’s top business leaders and entrepreneurs in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.
“With the housing and building markets in shambles, construction contractors are looking for many different ways to supplement their income,” Pennington said. “Contractor Yard Sale gives them a brand-new income stream. They can utilize the materials they have left over after a job to supplement their income.”
Pennington will receive a $1,000 cash award for his winning business idea. He said he plans to use the money to expand his marketing campaign and drive customers to his website at www.contractoryardsale.com. Faculty sponsor and EKU assistant professor Dr. Zek Eser also will receive a $250 cash award.
“Winning this competition—second to joining the business incubator at EKU’s Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Technology—is the biggest thing to happen to me and my business,” Pennington said.
The Excellence in Entrepreneurship Collegiate Business Concept Challenge invites students from Southern and Eastern Kentucky universities, colleges, and community colleges to submit business ideas and compete for cash awards and professional consultation.
Runners-up in the competition and a brief summary of their business ideas are as follows:
- EKU students Haley Stark, Tristin Morin, Ben Jacobs, and Kevin Smith took first runner-up for their business concept, “Ergoline Enterprises,” which focuses on the development of quality, innovative musical products.
- EKU students Michael Van Gilder, Chris Carpenter, and Kaitlin Kirkpatrick came in second runner-up for “Idea Plantation,” a website that connects entrepreneurs with prospective investors.
Additional entries included:
- EKU students Josh Miller, Charles Ramshaw, Brian Kenley, and Colin Thompson, who looked at the growing number of coupons offered online and turned that into a business concept for “Coupons4Campus.”
- Berea College student Mohammed Syeed Siddique, who submitted a business concept for a new venture, “Voice-Out,” an enterprise social technology software development company.
- Berea College student Sunita Jorsingh-Lawson, who proposed to expand plans for “Saddle Up Elk Tours, Inc.” in Knott County.
Pennington and Dr. Eser will be recognized for his winning concept at the 2011 EIEA awards luncheon scheduled for Sept. 12 at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset.
The EIEA program, celebrating its 10th anniversary, recognizes success in entrepreneurship by honoring businesspeople and entrepreneurs in 55 Kentucky counties who have created and are managing a successful enterprise. EIEA is sponsored by EKU’s College of Business and Technology, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, and The Center for Rural Development.
For more information about the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Collegiate Business Concept Challenge, go to www.eiea.eku.edu.