State innovators take home $10,000 entrepreneur awards
New London — More than 100 people crammed into the Oasis Room at the Garde Arts Center Wednesday to crown the latest $10,000 winners of the state's Entrepreneur Innovation Awards in what organizers said was the first standing-room-only crowd in the event's two-year history.
"In Connecticut, we have some really amazing talent," said Jessica Dodge, senior program associate for the statewide startup organization CTNext and host of the "Shark Tank"-like competition. "And they've turned out some really amazing work."
Winners were OBVIA of West Hartford, a company prototyping a new type of wind turbine blade; URISE of Hartford, which is developing a digital career coach; Olie Robotics of Manchester, which is creating a robotic cleaning system for restaurants; Thrivio, an online platform to help connect the disability community to innovative solutions; and SnapSeat of Hartford, which is creating a quick and easy way to print photographs posted to Instagram.
OBVIA also was named Judge's Favorite, picking up an additional $2,000 in funding, while Thrivio won the same amount as Crowd Favorite.
Pitches were made for a wide range of companies, from social-media platforms to a vaccine developer.
In all, five of the 10 companies chosen to make pitches Thursday won at least $10,000.
Companies can win up to $30,000 in awards from the pitch competitions held quarterly in Connecticut. The next competition will be the state's 10th.
No local companies presented during the two-hour competition, which is the first ever held in southeastern Connecticut.
Two of the four judges, Jean Schaefer and Leland Loose, had connections to Pfizer Inc.
Ripi Singh, another of the judges, praised the entrepreneurs who gave five-minute overviews of their companies, saying that the quality of presentation has risen dramatically in the state over the past two years. He added that some presenters obviously had taken to heart previous feedback to improve their pitches.
"That is what makes an entrepreneur successful — listening," he said.
Stories that may interest you
Legal bills now exceed $2.6 million in connection with federal corruption charges connected to lavish trips to the Kentucky Derby hosted by CMEEC.
The General Assembly's Public Safety and Security Committee has introduced a bill that would allow the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, the state’s off-track betting operator and the Connecticut Lottery Corp. to conduct sports wagering.
The Economic Development Commission voted unanimously Wednesday night to support the musuem's plans to demolish its Latitude 41 restaurant and construct a restaurant and boutique hotel closer to the Mystic River.
Susan Connelly, the current director of finance for the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Norwich Inc., now also will be the organization's interim executive director.