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‘Persistence Pays Off’ Message at 2016 Innovation Park TechGrant Competition
Two previously defeated TechGrant finalists return, take home first and second place prize
TALLAHASSEE, FL – On Thursday, May 19, 2016, more than 120 friends, supporters, investors, researchers, and entrepreneurs watched five finalists compete for a shared prize of $25,000 at the annual Innovation Park TechGrant Elevator Pitch Night event. Winners also received scholarships to the Leon County Research and Development Authority’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Program, and inclusion into the TechGrant Winners’ Circle group. The event was co-presented by Hancock Bank and Danfoss.
NP Group, which developed an optical fiber sensor with impact damage monitoring and load sensing for active control in wind turbine blades, was granted $15,000. PointCatcher, which built a network-styled loyalty points program for small and micro-businesses currently absent from the loyalty landscape to help increase local spending, was granted $10,000.
Last year, NP Group was a finalist in the competition. PointCatcher applied, but it wasn’t selected to compete as a finalist. After receiving feedback from last year’s competition and applying the feedback provided by expert judges, both companies decided to apply again.
The competition was intense. Each finalist was given just five minutes to pitch to a panel of five judges what their business is and why it is worthy of investment. Each pitch session was followed by a five-minute Q&A, where finalists were tested not only by the judges’ questions, but also by a running clock.
After the scores were tabulated and the time came to announce the winners, the Executive Director of the Leon County Research and Development Authority and event emcee made it clear that this moment was much more than announcing the winners. This moment recognized that persistence pays off. He shared that the two winners sought extra coaching to better prepare them for the competition, and took advantage of every opportunity to practice their pitch in front of, and receive feedback from different audiences.
When the winners were announced, the excitement and pride were palpable and everyone in the room was reminded that supporting a competition like this is as much about supporting the people behind the company logos as it is about their business idea. Early-stage companies experience many challenges as they navigate the process of building a business, but one thing they never worry about in Tallahassee is its supportive community.
LCRDA Executive Director Ron Miller notes “Tonight’s winners demonstrated that the TechGrant competition is as much about persistently refining your business idea, honing your message, and perfecting your pitch, as it is about actually receiving the cash. In the long run, that perseverance and persistence paid off for both our grant winners.”
Innovation Park Now Accepting Applications for Entrepreneurial Excellence Program Class 12
~October Class Registration Open for those Looking to Gain Valuable Insight and Advice regarding Entrepreneurship~
(Tallahassee, Fla.)- The Leon County Research and Development Authority (the Authority), the organization who oversees Innovation Park announced it is now accepting enrollment for the upcoming Entrepreneurial Excellence Program (EEP) taking place in October. This premier program is conducted in a dynamic interactive classroom setting where entrepreneurs engage with local professionals, who serve as teachers and mentors.
EEP is ideal for those who are in the vulnerable early stages of business or interested in starting a company.
“The program is an excellent resource for those wanting to operate a business in Tallahassee,” stated Larry Lynch, Director of the Entrepreneurial Excellence Program. “Our goal is to help local businesses succeed by providing them with information that can help them make educated decisions. EEP is taught by professionals who specialize in different subjects from legal, marketing, sales, team building to funding and financing. Even when the program wraps up, the connections and mentorships built during the course continue on, and that’s a great feature about the EEP Program and our community.”
Last month, the city of Tallahassee was named a Top 50 City for Entrepreneurs by Entrepreneur Magazine due to many factors including business tax rates, percentage of educated locals and increasing population. The EEP program is another Tallahassee staple that supports the budding entrepreneurial atmosphere. Over 130 businesses have completed the program since it was launched in 2011 by the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/ Leon County, Inc. (EDC). In April, it was announced that the EEP program was being transferred from the EDC to the Authority. Larry Lynch has been the program director since its inception and will continue serving in that role.
The 2-night a week, 5-week course will begin on October 4thand conclude on November 3rd. Each class will tackle a specific topic that entrepreneurs will face during their business’s life. During the final two classes, each team will produce a business presentation to a group of experienced entrepreneurs and get feedback about the business, market and financial opportunities. The full schedule for the program can be viewed on the Innovation Park website.
The application deadline for Class 12 is Friday, September 2, 2016. Enrollment for the upcoming program is limited, as several spots have already been filled. Class enrollment is on a first come first serve basis for qualified businesses, so interested parties should sign up as soon as possible to ensure their spot for this year. The fee is $400 for a team of two individuals per company and applications can be filled out on the Innovation Park website.
To learn more about the Entrepreneurial Excellence Program or to sign up for this year’s class, please visit http://innovation-park.com/entrepreneurial-excellence-program. To hear testimonials from alumni of the program, please visit our Youtube channel. For the latest information and news regarding Innovation Park and the Leon County R&D Authority, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and Google+.
Q: What do these scientific marvels have in common?
- the world’s largest and highest-powered magnet laboratory
- an advanced Aero Propulsion Laboratory with its own supersonic and subsonic wind tunnels
- Florida’s premiere center for the study of plasmas
- a giant pendulum capable of crashing a 2-ton concrete block into a commuter bus
- the world headquarters of the developer of commercially viable fuel cell technology
- a world-class research center developing materials used in lightning-strike protection and armored vehicles
- manufacturing of the world’s first totally oil-free compressors
A: You can find them all at Innovation Park of Tallahassee!
Spanning over 208 acres of pristine Florida landscape, Innovation Park is home to more than thirty-five cutting-edge research and manufacturing organizations. Research and technology breakthroughs pervade Innovation Park, from the development of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math educational software to a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) that achieves the highest scanning transmission resolution in the world among commercial TEMs!
Innovation Park’s location can’t be beat! Less than five miles from:
- Tallahassee Airport
- Florida State University
- Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
- Tallahassee Community College
- Tallahassee’s flourishing downtown district
- …and conveniently close to Interstate 10!