Nurturing BIG IDEAs
Ben Franklin Technology PArtners announces NWPA finalists for 2020 BIG IDEA contest
What's the big idea!? Ben Franklin Technology PArtners, a tech-based economic development program with four regional offices statewide, seeks to answer that question through its annual BIG IDEA Contest.
Inspired by the popularity of private sector pitch competitions like Shark Tank, the contest awards $50,000 to the entrepreneur(s) in each Ben Franklin region with the most innovative new product, process, or software application. Eligible entrants cannot have been previous recipients of Ben Franklin funding, cannot have reached $500,000 in annual revenue, and must possess a plan to commercialize. Each finalist receives expert feedback and advice from the judge's panel, with the opportunity to build valuable contacts and gain experience and training along the way.
The seven finalists of the Northwest Pennsylvania competition (open to Erie, Crawford, Mercer, Venango, Warren, Forest, and Clarion counties) were announced Monday, with five hailing from the Erie area. Below is the complete list in alphabetical order.
- Additive Enginuity Group (Seneca) is introducing various product designs to boost workplace productivity and safety.
- American PreCast Industries (Clarion) is proposing a number of cost-effective products in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim of spurring economic growth.
- Blind Tiger (Erie), helmed by Room 33 proprietor Rebecca Styn, is developing a line of organic, all-natural cocktail alternatives that are shelf-stable for up to 18 months.
- Elements Aligned (Erie) will allow businesses to easily reconfigure their office spaces with their adjustable panel hangers, used to create modular interior walls.
- Leverage4Data (Erie) will offer a series of cloud-based applications to help manufacturing companies to streamline production and supply chain processes.
- Two Sparrows Learning Systems/Shape City (Erie), also inventors of the Effortless Art Crayons featured in our 2018 Made in Erie Gift Guide, are building a new interactive gaming platform for the educational technology market.
- Fintech lender Scholar Bridge (Erie) will specialize in credit and financial aid solutions for current and recently graduated college students.
The winner will be decided sometime in mid-January via ZOOM. Don't go getting any (ALLCAPS) BIG IDEAs until then, as registrations are closed. Big ideas, however, are encouraged for next year's competition, when BIG IDEAS can again be caps-locked into reality.
Matt Swanseger's big ideas are usually food-related, with mixed results. Send treasured family recipes or tricks of the trade his way at firstname.lastname@example.org