An Illinois State University student who created a hands-free device for hunters was the big winner at the 2015 Startup Showcase in November.

Kameron Carpenter won first place with his Bow Lap Strap. Specifically designed for hunters, the hands-free device safely holds a bow on a hunter’s lap while sitting in a deer stand.

Startup Showcase, a student business startup competition, is sponsored by the George R. and Martha Means Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Illinois State University’s College of Business. Any Illinois State student can enter the competition, which was held November 13 at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Uptown Normal.

This year’s finalists competed for an awards package of over $100,000 of cash and in-kind professional services as well as mentoring to move their companies forward. Past winners include Packback Books (featured on TV’s Shark Tank), Open Source Classroom, Bizz Bates, and Interactive Game Education.

The other 2015 finalists were:

  • Second place: Erica Luchies, creator of Smoothis, which provides skin care solutions for natural-minded customers.
  • Third place: Bastian Hauk-Jegen, creator of Useley, an infrastructure of smart lockers plus services than can run on the universal infrastructure.
  • Fourth place: Brian Letzter and Mike Anderson, creators of HowDoWe Inc. Their nonprofit raises funds and awareness to support community-based and nationwide projects.
  • People’s Choice Award (tie): Philip Horan with his company Campus Coupons; and Matthew Khosroabadi, Suprith Aireddy, and Brandon Burton with their company

For more information about the Means Center or the Startup Showcase, contact Means Center Director Mark Hoelscher at (309) 438-5985 or