RI Business Plan Competition Names Winners

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

 

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The big winner at the RI Business Plan Competition today is a brand of fashionable, fine jewelry called Haverhill. The newly formed company is sharing with other winners and finalists prizes valued at more than $200,000.

Haverhill Incorporated was founded by Alison Cariati and Haverhill Leach.

In addition to being named track winner, the Haverhill team was awarded a bonus of $30,000 in cash, for a total of $45,000 in cash and $24,000 in professional and consulting services.

Cariati, CEO of Haverhill, said the company plans to use the funds to rent office space, purchase computer equipment, and defray costs for launching its product line.

"We polled women who currently own and purchase jewelry and found a consistent response: lack of enthusiasm for selection of style at accessible price points. We found women are seeking fine jewelry as versatile, statement accessories," Cariati said

Named Student track winner was Azavy, which is creating an online store for 3D printed goods that crowd-sources manufacturing, enabling consumers to buy products designed and 3D printed by users. Tyler Benster, a senior undergraduate majoring in applied mathematics and economics at Brown University, is leading the team, which includes Michael Anderson, a senior at Yale University, and Mark Fischer, a senior at Northwestern University.

Winning the Technology Special Award was TennisHub, an emerging Providence-based company led by President Eddie Ross that has developed an online bookings and payments system that connects tennis players with opportunities to play at commercial courts. The product it has created-a highly scalable software as a service (SAAS)-helps tennis businesses grow by enabling them to sell unused court time and operate more efficiently.

The Student track and Technology winners each received $15,000 in cash and services valued at $24,000.

Other finalist in the Entrepreneur track was EndoSphere Surgical, Inc., a Newton, Mass.  The company  is led by Mel Prenovitz that is developing a method to reposition laparoscopic surgical tools to make laparoscopic procedures easier, faster, and safer to perform.


Finalists in the Student track were:

Fashion Force, a company developed by Bryant University senior Melissa Ellard that will provide an online trade show alternative to connect fashion industry manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers.

Optitrum, which is making a handheld, non-invasive glucose meter to manage diabetes, led by Jenny Yu, who is studying for a master of science degree in Brown University's Program in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship. Also on the team are Xinming Shi, Lu Liu, and Jing Feng, all graduate students at Brown.

Finalists in both tracks received $5,000 in cash and services valued at $9,250

The judges also awarded Fashion Force a "catalyst bonus" of $5,000 cash and $6,500 in services in recognition of the potential impact that the additional awards will have on the company's ability to achieve near-term market traction.

All prizes were donated by sponsors, which included private companies, professional services firms, investors and banks, foundations, nonprofits, colleges and universities, and public agencies. To be eligible to for prizes, applicants had to agree to establish or maintain operations in Rhode Island.

The 2013 competition attracted 78 business plans that spanned biotech, consumer, health care, Internet, manufacturing, and software, among other, industries.

This year marked the tenth time the competition has been held since it first awarded prizes in 2001. To date, it has awarded more than $1.4 million in prizes.

Ten Business and Community Leaders Served as Judges

Serving as judges in the 2013 competition were the following business and community leaders:
Larry Davidson, principal, Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co., Ltd.
Adriana Dawson, state director, Rhode Island Small Business Development Center
Margaret Farrell, partner, Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP
Katharine Flynn, director of corporate and foundation relations, University of Rhode Island
John Groetelaars, president, Davol Inc., a subsidiary of C. R. Bard, Inc.
Jeff Jefferson, partner, Edwards Wildman & Palmer
Stephen Lane, co-Founder and CEO, Ximedica
Sandra Potter, director of the Global Entrepreneurship Program, Bryant University
Shawn Scott, director of sales and marketing, Collette Vacations
Christine Smith, director of Innovation Programs, RI Economic Development Corporation 

 
 

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