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Posted: January 10, 2008
Sixteen finalists chosen in Piedmont Triad Entrepreneurial Network's GAP competition
(Nanowerk News) Technology that improves on the output of Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, and a system that better preserves organs during transplants, are among the winning ideas of the finalists that Piedmont Triad Entrepreneurial has named in its 2007-2008 Growth Accelerator Program (GAP) competition. This year’s entries demonstrate the variety and quality of commercial output that exists in the local entrepreneurial community.
Finalists in the annual GAP competition, which is designed to encourage and support the development of early-stage growth companies, were chosen in December by an expert panel of judges on the quality of their business concepts and their potential for growth, including sustainable competitive advantage and the breadth of their target market. “It’s encouraging to see that creative talent and energy among business developers, and those that aspire to be, is thriving in the Triad,” said Jon Obermeyer, the chief executive of PTEN, which has sponsored Triad-focused business plan competitions since 2001.
Tom Clarkson, the director of the Babcock Demon Incubator at Wake Forest University and a GAP plan reviewer, considers GAP an important annual event. “It causes people looking to do start-ups to really refine their business model, develop a clear value proposition, and be able to articulate that in a way that investors can understand,” Clarkson said. “And those selected as winners get many benefits: They can take courses, get visibility and advance their start-up in a way that they couldn’t do if the program didn’t exist.”
Sam Funchess, the president and chief executive of the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship and a GAP plan reviewer, said that this year’s entries reflect an overall improvement in quality over past years. “We’re starting to see some movement toward higher-growth companies, and that’s what the GAP program was designed to bring in,” Funchess said. “Faster-growing companies are the ones that really impact our local community, economy and jobs.”
The sixteen finalists will receive a scholarship to PTEN’s FastTrac Tech Course, a 10-session training program which helps entrepreneurs solidify their business plan and venture strategy. A semi-final round of the business-plan competition, and announcements of the top three GAP winners, will take place in April and May, 2008. The sixteen finalists are:
Commerce-Web International Inc. (Greensboro)
Commerce-Web International Inc. has developed services and technology that will allow business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses and customers to move to a single, universal loyalty card which allows shoppers to receive quality promotional offers. It will also provide the B2C businesses with customer-specific sales information without the expense of having their own loyalty card.
DiscountWhitley.com will provide an accessible, user-friendly Web site where users can comparison-shop the prices of groceries in their local geographic areas.
Eco Everyday (Greensboro)
Eco Everyday is a lifestyle retail store that offers everyday household items that make a healthier impact on the planet and its people. It also offers colorful clothing and accessories made free of sweat-shop labor.
Filigree Nanotechnology Inc. (Winston-Salem)
Filigree Nanotechnology is a development-stage company that has a proprietary technique for producing nanomaterials including nanowires and nanocubes using silver blended with copper, gold and even aluminum. This results in compounds with more durability, increased conductivity and lower manufacturing costs for the electronics market.
North Carolina Greentech LLC (Winston-Salem)
North Carolina Greentech LLC will recycle waste tires, disposing of them in an environmentally sound manner that produces valuable byproducts for resale.
King Concepts (Winston-Salem)
King Concepts will create an Internet platform to allow unknown musical talents to reach an audience not restricted by industry judging.
LongfiberenGINeering Inc. (Winston-Salem)
LongfiberenGINeering Inc. has invented and is commercializing a technology that is the first major innovation to the cotton gin since Eli Whitney’s work. The machine increases ginned-cotton yield by removing more fiber from the seed and increases quality by retaining the fiber's length.
NanoMed Corporation (Greensboro)
NanoMed Corporation is developing technologies that will provide a reliable, portable and efficient method for the detection of pathogens, and chemical and biological markers at the point-of-care and point-of-test.
OpenMedis Corporation (Winston-Salem)
OpenMedis Corporation will develop an Internet-based community for the imaging-center market which brings together independent imaging centers, health-care providers, billing and insurance providers, and patients. OpenMedis will provide the infrastructure and services to help imaging centers manage their health-care IT service needs.
Poll-A-Room’s ClassPAR, an Internet-based polling program, provides a more advanced and lower-cost product than the classroom engagement systems currently used in over 850 schools across the nation.
Record Solutions Notebooks (Winston-Salem)
RS Notebooks will provide coordinated products and services allowing lab workers to easily record the results of their research in a way that documents their procedures and verifies the timing of their work for patent applications.
Salzburg Therapeutics Inc. (Yadkinville)
Salzburg Therapeutics is developing Cytotoxamer™ and Genotoxamer™ technologies for treatment of prostate cancer and other malignancies.
SharingArt.com promises a “virtual” marketplace for event-dated and out-of-print cultural, biographical and historical information produced and published by museums, galleries and artists about their collections, exhibitions, creative works and acquisitions. SharingArt.com will consolidate the complete booklists of both museums and trade publishers on its customized Web site so that anyone can search a single-source database.
Smart Perfusion LLC (Greensboro)
Smart Perfusion LLC designs and manufactures organ perfusion and transport systems, using technology that will significantly improve organ preservation quality and increase the transport and storage lifetime of kidneys and other precious organs during transplantation.
SSED Inc. (Greensboro)
Survival Skills Education & Development Inc. (SSED) has created programs that increase competence and confidence in the workplace, allowing individuals to increase job retention and advancement potential by further developing interpersonal and other soft skills.
Trend Funnel™ (Greensboro)
Trend Funnel™ has developed online software programs that organize home furnishings, flooring, paint and accessories by style and trend, allowing users to find desired products more efficiently and with the assurance that products will coordinate and match.
Providing comprehensive support and a regional network for growth-minded entrepreneurs in the Piedmont Triad, PTEN's distinctive programs include a Growth Accelerator Program and business plan competition, Capital Connects! investor events, as well as statewide conferences focused on nanotechnology (www.ncnano.com) and supply chain strategy and innovation (www.nexusnc.com) Formed in July 2004, PTEN is a model for regional collaboration and economic development. To support its primary emphasis on high-growth, high-impact companies that create jobs, headquarters and innovative products and services, PTEN receives funding from Action Greensboro, High Point Partners and Winston-Salem Alliance.