Winners of UT business plan competition announcedWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Three budding entrepreneurs were winners in the first Innovation Enterprises Challenge Business Plan Competition conducted by the College of Business and Innovation at the University of Toledo.
The top three business plans were announced Dec. 2 in the PNC Entrepreneurship Lab at the Savage & Associates Complex for Business Learning and Engagement on the main campus.
“We want to see these ideas and business plans effectively implemented, creating jobs and enhancing the economic growth of the region. The award money will be used to start businesses in Northwest Ohio,” said Sonny Ariss, professor and chair of the Management Department in the UT College of Business and Innovation, who presented the awards to the winners.
The first place winner of a $10,000 prize was Minal Bhadane of Smart Orthosis for its creation of a “Hybrid Active Ankle Foot Orthosis” used to treat patients with drop foot condition.
Bhadane, a graduate student at UT, was in India so her advisor, Mohammad Elahinia of the College of Engineering, accepted the award on her behalf.
Second place and a $5,000 prize were awarded to Sarit Bhaduri of Regentiss, LLC that is developing advanced technologies for the treatment and re-generation of both hard and soft tissues such as bone and cartilage.
Bhaduri said he has submitted a business plan and proposal to pursue funding with the U.S. Army to use his process to treat combat casualties. He is a faculty member in Mechanical Engineering and Medicine at UT.
Third place and a $2,500 prize were won by Jessica Reese’s team of Three Sisters’ Bakery that makes naturally sweetened baked goods with no sugar added. Members of this winning team were unable to attend the award ceremony.
The competition was open to UT faculty, staff and students with a goal of encouraging a spirit of entrepreneurship within the University, said Ariss. Prize money for the first Business Plan Competition was provided by the office of UT President Lloyd Jacobs.
The competition was announced in April and 49 entries were submitted by the September deadline with 12 semi-finalists chosen in October. Those finalists made presentations before an independent panel of judges in November.
Honorable Mention awards with a $500 prize each were presented to the other nine finalists that included:
- The Dynamic and Smart Systems Laboratory and Cory Chapman for a device to improve upon current spinal fusion procedures by making them less invasive and decreasing the patient recovery time.
- HbA1c Monitor and Rui Zheng for developing the first fiber optics based commercial optical biosensor for accurate real time monitoring of blood proteins for clinical and home use by people with diabetes.
- Saltron Medical and Amanda Szalkowski for creating a hand-held device that will measure the dilation of the female cervix in order to monitor the progression of labor accurately and comfortably.
- Elarya Pharmaceuticals, LLC and Jerzy Jankun for developing a haemostatic agent designed to tame bleeding as a clot protecting agent or target angiogenesis in cancer.
- Solar Engineering Solution and Ningyuan Li for delivering new technologies that serve the heating and cooling needs of buildings with technologies based on new solar innovations.
- Conservation Consulting and Daniel Kory to provide energy consulting services to intermediate-sized commercial users on how to reduce their energy costs.
- Resonance Group and Jason Owens for an energy control system that integrates its new controller with pulse motors and power management technologies for improved performance of electric motor-driven products.
- Team ShrivIt and Brett Chany for developing an Internet-based review site using short videos to share one’s experiences with others by posting videos and blogs of experiences with a place, product, service, or event.
- WhatsUpDirectory.com and Josh Weinstein for creating a national events directory to provide users with a geographically filtered and categorized view of events.
The incubators at UT are offering six months free rent for any of these businesses to locate in those facilities. These businesses are good candidates for additional funding with Ignite grants or Rocket Ventures of the Regional Growth Partnership, said Ariss.
“The quality of presentations was unbelievable. You’re right up there with professionals in the field. We want to applaud and recognize your entrepreneurship,” said Greg Knudson of RGP and Rocket Ventures who served as a judge of the final business plans. “We’re already talking to some of these entrepreneurs about working with them.”
“This competition reflects UT’s belief in innovative thinking and is intended to advance a creative culture of growth in all areas of the University. These diverse and technologically oriented business plans clearly demonstrate innovative thinking within UT,” Rick Stansley, chairman of Innovation Enterprises, said in a statement.
Stansley was in Washington, D.C. and was unable to attend the award ceremony.