A new University of Louisville event challenges students to find innovative solutions to health care industry problems and launch startups around them — all in a whirlwind 48-hour weekend. 

The virtual event, called CARDSTART, kicks off on Oct. 23, with closing remarks and winners announced on Oct. 25. Winners of the student-led event, backed by the UofL Office of Research and Innovation and Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship, will receive mentorship, training and modest funding that can help bring their ideas to life, while preparing for the finals pitch competition in the spring.

“This is a great and unique event at UofL that affords students the opportunity and possible financial support to explore entrepreneurship,” said Samantha Morrissey, a medical student and member of the CardStart student organizing committee. “We want students to get creative and transform their ideas into real world technologies that could ultimately be developed into their very own startup.”

Participating student teams will have the weekend to tackle a health care industry problem. Tammy York Day, chief executive officer of sponsor, the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council, said CardStart is an opportunity for students to get creative and gain experience working with the health care industry.

“The students at UofL are full of creativity, energy and drive,” she said. “They’re the next generation of our health care workforce — the innovators and doers. LHCC is proud to support CardStart and give those students an opportunity to tackle some real industry problems.”

The weekend also features a jam-packed schedule of keynotes, coaching and workshops led by real-life founders and other experts, including Liberate Medical’s Angus McLachlan, Ph.D., Wicked Sheets’ Alli Truttmann, UofL’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence and CardStart’s faculty mentors, Mary Tapolsky, of business, and Tommy Roussel, of engineering.

Students will get one-on-one advice, and learn about customer discovery, making a pitch and more. At the end of the weekend, teams will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, who will select up to four winners.

Each winning team will receive mentorship and coaching, modest funding to develop their prototype and free registration (an $895+ value) for the 2021 spring cohort of LaunchIt, UofL’s 10-week entrepreneurial training boot camp. 

The four winning teams will pitch again in spring 2021 to a panel of industry experts and health care leaders for a chance to win cash prizes. 

Students can register with a team, or register individually and be placed with a team day-of. Teams should be multi-disciplinary, including members from a variety of majors. More information and registration is available on the uoflcardstart.com website.