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.