Friday
27Nov2009

*2009F Comp.

The UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative

Awards Thousands in Seed Funding to Aspiring Entrepreneurs

November 17th 2009, Amherst, MA – Last night, the UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (UMass EI) awarded thousands of dollars in seed capital to aspiring Student Entrepreneurs through its sixth
Executive Summary Competition which is sponsored by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA). The competition consisted of businesses ranging from High-tech solutions for today’s problems to socially responsible business ideas.  This year’s top place was awarded to Undercover Lady Lover.

1st place honors, a prize of $1,500, went to Undercover Lady Lover, and an additional People’s Choice Award of $500 was awarded. 
Undercover Lady Lover is a Women’s Clothing line designed specifically with lesbian tastes in mind. The team consists of Erin Callahan who is a senior at UMass Amherst studying Entertainment Marketing and Small Business Management.

 2nd place winnings went to New Roots who received $500.

  • New Roots is a non-profit organization that provides resources for elementary and middle schools to

establish and sustain student gardens on campus, while integrating the garden into school

curricula. Alexandra Whaley has run a student garden at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and taught the corresponding class for a year. She has also worked with Sustainable South Shore to sustain a student garden at a middle school.


3rd place winnings went to Lustig International Technologies (L.I.T.).

  • Lustig International
  • Other finalists included:

    VMO Longboards –

Since the first board was finished on June 8th 2009 VMO LongBoards has been designing and hand crafting long boards used for transportation, recreation and eye candy. VMO have made 14 one of a kind boards and sold 10 of them.

FIZIX! -  A product development firm focused on addressing the needs of developing nations, specifically in the areas of medical devices and portable power supplies

Honorable Mentions were awarded to Dirty Brewing, UMass Bike Sharing Program, CoinVesting, Creative Companionship Initiative, Global Opportunities, Language Smash, One-Stop Realty, The CouponCard, and URecycle: A Social Enterprise.


The competition's judges were: DR Widder (Principal at Milestone Strategies Group), Baer Tierkel (Sweet Mojo), Derek Lyman (Co-Founder & CEO at 
Dexrex LLC), Joe Bohan (Founder of SciDose LLC), Mike Giles (VisionStudio.com), Tom Kennedy (Former CFO of RSA Security).


About The UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (
umassei.org): The mission of the UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI) is to help students turn ideas into businesses. The organization inspires students to explore the entrepreneurial career path, trains them in how to evaluate their ideas, and then connects them to the resources needed to take the first steps in starting their own business.  Students participating in EI's program have opportunities to earn academic credit, win prize money, and connect with experienced mentors. The program is sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, and EI Alumni.

Wednesday
25Mar2009

*2009S Comp.

Thousands in Seed Funding Awarded to Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Contact info: Robert W. Hyers (hyers [at] ecs [dot] umass [dot] edu | 413-545-2253)

March 25th 2009, Amherst, MA – Last night, the UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (UMass EI) awarded thousands of dollars in seed capital to aspiring Student Entrepreneurs through its bi-annual Executive Summary Competition.  The competition is sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation (www.hgcf.org) and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (www.NCIIA.org). The competition consisted of several different types of businesses ranging from High-tech solutions for today’s problems to socially responsible business ideas. 

1st place honors, a prize of $3,500, went to Precision Slip, and the company also took home an additional $500 for the People’s Choice Award.  Precision Slip is a concept company with a laboratory proven drag reducing marine coating technology capable of decreasing fuel consumption at least 40% for a typical merchant ship or providing the winning edge in the America’s Cup. The team members include Robert Daniello and Professor Jonathan Rothstein as a faculty advisor.

 2nd place winnings went to Localocracy supplying the company with $500.

  • Localocracy is a web-based platform for political discussion where users who have been verified as living in a particular community can post and rank responses to their local issues. The service is free to the general public, and is paid for by special interest groups who pay for targeted placement. The team includes Conor White-Sullivan, Benjy Messner, and Professor M.J. Alhabeeb as faculty advisor.

3rd place winnings went to Andanje Foundation supplying the company with $500. 

  • Andanje Foundation seeks to provide computers & learning technology to youth in remote regions of developing nations, starting with seven pilot programs in Kenya.  Their goal is to use computer literacy & technological learning strategies to open doors of opportunity to critically underserved children. The team includes Elly Tuti, Jennie D’Ambroise, and Eric Mwangi.

Other finalists include:

Apera Solutions - A technology integration firm developing a process that enables a synergy of industrial efficiency, renewable power, and renewable fuels within the ethanol and wind markets.

MicroTissues, Inc. - A company dedicated to the commercialization of the 3-D Petri dish, a proprietary new tool for the life sciences industry. The 3-D Petri dish is an enabling technology that can grow cells in three dimensions and will reduce the cost to discover new drugs by the pharmaceutical industry.

Honorable Mentions were awarded to Carabase Training, ComfyCutter, CookIt, Dry-A-Ways, E-Z Laundry, GloSkirts, iSpy, Khross Clothing, RaveWave Club Effects, and Shepherd.

The competition's judges were: Denise Dukette (Director of Lending at Western Mass. Enterprise Fund), Joseph Steig (Director, Venture Well and CFO, Long River Ventures, Co-Founder of the River Valley Investors and EI), Paul Gelinas (CEO at Zippy Blue LLC, Member of the River Valley Investors), Steve Willis (Co-founder of Wellfleet Communications and Argon Networks), and DR Widder (Principal at Milestone Strategies Group and member of the River Valley Investors).

 

About The UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (umassei.org):

The mission of the UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI) is to help students turn ideas into businesses.  The organization inspires students to explore the entrepreneurial career path, trains them in how to evaluate their ideas, and then connects them to the resources needed to take the first steps in starting their own business.  Students participating in EI's program have opportunities to earn academic credit, win prize money, and connect with experienced mentors. The program is sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, and EI Alumni.

 

Monday
27Oct2008

* 2008F Comp.

Local Student-Entrepreneurs Win Thousands in Seed Funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact info: Robert W. Hyers (hyers [at] ecs [dot] umass [dot] edu | 413-545-2253)

October 27th 2008, Amherst, MA – The UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (UMass EI) awarded thousands of dollars in seed capital to aspiring student entrepreneurs through its fifth Executive Summary Competition which is sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. This semester, the competition drew an unprecedented fifty entries with business ideas ranging from retail ventures to high tech internet start ups. The five finalists competed for $5000 in prize money including $500 awarded to the “people’s choice” selected, appropriately enough, by the audience.

The mission of the Umass Entrepreneurship Initiative is to inspire students to explore entrepreneurship and additionally provide catalyzing resources to those with the passion to follow through.

1st place honors and $3,000 went to Juniper Ledge Creations, an aspiring organic gin company. The founders, Caitlin Strack and Claudio Santoro, who both have experience in the food and beverage industry are hoping to capitalize on the current trends in the spirit industry to provide an organic alternative to the current gin offerings focusing sales on local restaurants and bars. This business is a recent startup, with one product in development.

2nd place and $1,500 was awarded to SPEX. SPEX is a startup service company enabling realtors and home inspectors to address questions about energy efficiency quantitatively. This web-based business will use proprietary software to generate site-specific reports that will readily indicate specific areas of inefficiency. SPEX is made up of Palmer Yurica and Briana Tomboulian.

Three companies received honorable mention.

  • Adam’s Critter Crackers is a concept-stage company that is developing oyster crackers shaped like sea creatures. The founder, Adam O’Neill, is currently experimenting with recipes and shapes such as starfish, scallop shells, sand dollars, horseshoe crabs, sea horses, and lobster claws. Adam’s Critter Crackers was awarded the $500 People’s Choice Award.

  • Golden Cordial Company creates quality liqueurs, utilizing the healing properties of plants, in order to promote pleasure, happiness, and health. Golden Cordial focuses on using sustainable and ethically grown ingredients that support family farms, enhance local economies, and promote a healthy environment. The company, operated by Rebecca Golden and Ben Riseman, is actively developing and perfecting several recipes.

  • Apera Ethanol is a concept stage company that is actively pursuing patent protection for a proprietary technology for producing ethanol. Their technology is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than current methods. In addition, the technology is compatible with cellulosic ethanol processes as well as corn and cane ethanol.

The competition's judges were: Baer Tierkel – retired VP of Marketing at PeopleSoft, John Kole of Merrimack Capital, Gary Martinelli of Martinelli Discenza, John Fabel of Sun Ethanol, and Tom Porter of the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance.

About The UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (umassei.org):

The UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI) mission is to help students turn ideas into businesses. The organization inspires students to explore the entrepreneurial career path, trains them in how to evaluate their ideas, and then connects them to the resources needed to take the first steps in starting their own business. Students participating in EI's program can earn academic credit. Additionally, they receive opportunities to win prize money, and are connected to mentors. The program is sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, the UMass Amherst College of Engineering, and EI Alumni.

 

 

Wednesday
09Apr2008

* 2008 HGCF Comp.

UMass EI Student Entrepreneurs win big at first ever Harold Grinspoon Regional Enterprise Competition

April 9th 2007, Holyoke, MA – Last week, the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation hosted its first ever Regional Enterprise Competition. The primary objective of the competition is to provide financial and mentoring support to the “best of the best” of the spirit award nominations/winners. UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (UMass EI) students won 1st, 2nd, 3rd and tied for 4th. Thousands of dollars in seed capital were awarded to aspiring entrepreneurs.  The event organizers' hope is to inspire students to explore entrepreneurship and then provide catalyzing resources to those with the passion to follow through.

 

1st place honors and $5,000 went to CellAssist. CellAssist creates hardware and software applications for mobile phones. The Company is preparing to release, CellAssist, which is a software and hardware system that enables users to diagnose automobile problems and control certain auto functions using standard mobile phones. CellAssist has been in business for 4 years. Our council is currently finalizing the legalities of a Joint Development Agreement with AAA of Pioneer Valley. Under this agreement we would receive startup up capital and a line of credit to nationally roll out CellAssist.

 

2nd place honors and $4,000 went to Engineered Response. Engineered Response is a concept-stage company that is developing a crash activated emergency beacon that can be used in all helmets. The company has secured preliminary funding through competitions and investors. The technology currently has a patent pending and a proof of concept prototype is soon to be complete. The invention has been highly publicized and there has been contact with helmet manufacturers.

 

3rd place honors and $3,000 went to Condition Engineering. Condition Engineering provides early warning of impending failure of earthen structures. They have developed a specialized sensor rope to continuously monitor basic geological parameters. These ropes can be installed at regular intervals along the earthen structure, such as a flood control system to form a network that provides widespread assessment of current conditions. From the sensed geological parameters, a computer model can be developed to provide an overview of the health of the entire system.

 

Honorable mentions and $250 went to DexRex from UMass EI and Lu Lu Company from BayPath.

  • Dexrex is a social technology company which provides a personal data management service that runs on top of the existing Instant Messenger networks and software. Its service ultimately will provide consumers with databases created from chat logs which will advance the efficiency of online advertising and web commerce.

 

  • Lu Lu provides companies a new avenue to promote their branded messages in a unique and personal way. The company supplies luxury chain hotels with an innovative new seat protector for travelers, suitable for use in public restrooms, hiking, camping, and airline voyages. The protectors provide a true water barrier for which Lu Lu is seeking a U.S. patent, rendering them truly unique to the market. The protectors are environmentally sound and safe for sewer or septic systems.

 

While UMass EI students have done well at each of the yearly Grinspoon events, this year was the best showing yet.

 

We are proud of the hard work and amazing growth our students put into their dreams this year.  If you bump into any of them, please extend your congratulations.  If you helped them in any way, please accept our thanks.  If you are a student with an idea, we invite you to join our program in the Fall.

 

 

 

 

Thursday
27Mar2008

* 2008S Comp.

The UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative Awards Thousands in Seed Funding to Aspiring Entrepreneurs.

March 27th 2008, Amherst, MA – Last month, the UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (UMass EI) awarded thousands of dollars in seed capital to aspiring Student Entrepreneurs through its fourth Executive Summary Competition which is sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. For the first time since its inception, the competition drew contestants from several of the local five colleges with the grand prize going to rookie entrant Jessica Harwood of Smith College taking the top prize award of $2000.

 

In addition to the standard prizes awarded, Josh Golder, UMass EI Alum and successful serial entrepreneur sweetened the pot by sponsoring an independent contest in which the five finalists each received an additional $400 in seed capital. In a surprising turn of events, Vin Cardillo, a past judge of the competition and an active supporter of EI, offered to double the prize money on the spot, meaning each team received a total of $800 in additional start-up cash.

 

The event organizers' hope is to inspire students to explore entrepreneurship and then provide catalyzing resources to those with the passion to follow through.

 

1st place honors and $2,000 went to FEAST which is a local food delivery service, allowing customers to order meat, fish, dairy, produce, and prepared meals fresh from farms in the Pioneer Valley area. This business is still in the conceptual phase, with an intended start date of June 1, 2008. Team members are: Jessica Harwood and Molly Snedden.

 2nd place was a two-way tie with each team winning $1,000.

  • Engineered Response is a concept-stage company that is developing a crash activated emergency beacon that can be used in all helmets. The company has secured preliminary funding through competitions and investors. The technology currently has a patent pending and a proof of concept prototype is soon to be complete. The team consists of Brycen Spencer and assorted advisors.
  • Golden Cordial Co. creates quality liqueurs, utilizing the healing properties of plants, in order to promote pleasure, happiness, and health. It is important to us to use sustainable and ethically grown ingredients that support family farms, enhance local economies, and promote a healthy environment. Currently, this company exists as a hobby in a kitchen. Team member are Rebecca Golden and Ben Riseman.

3rd place was a two-way tie with each team winning $500. 

  • Auto Scout is a service business where the customer fills out specifications for the vehicle they desire, and Auto Scout goes to “dealer-only” auctions to purchase the vehicle for the best possible price for the client.
  • Micro Tissues, Inc. is a company selling scientific tools to the international biomedical research community and big pharmaceutical companies. Their main product is the three dimensional (3D) tissue culture dish or 3D Petri dish. Their 3D tissue culture dish is made of agarose, a natural product derived from seaweed. Micro Tissues, Inc. plans on becoming the leader in 3D tissue culture products by offering the most superior and effective technology. Micro Tissues, Inc. as a business is still in the concept stage, but as for the 3D tissue culture product that we will be offering it is real and a patent application has been filed.

 

The competition's judges were: Denise Dukette (Western Massachusetts Enterprise Fund), Karen Rubiero (Bank of Western Massachusetts), and Al Griggs, Glen Hanson and John Cole (all members of the River Valley Investors – a Springfield angel investor group).

 

About The UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (umassei.org):

The UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI) mission is to help students turn ideas into businesses.  The organization inspires students to explore the entrepreneurial career path, trains them in how to evaluate their ideas, and then connects them to the resources needed to take the first steps in starting their own business.  Students participating in EI's program earn academic credit, opportunities to win prize money, and are connected to mentors. The program is sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, UMass Amherst School of management, the UMass Amherst College of Engineering, and EI Alumni.