SAS Nanotechnologies Wins This Year’s Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition

Written by Dora Cheatham, Program Manager, Emerging Enterprise Center

Beating out eleven other startup companies, and despite tough competition, SAS Nanotechnologies cruised into the no. 1 position to win the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition—now in its 6th year and with a Grand Prize totaling over $16,000 in cash and services.

Dr. Sumedh Surwade from SAS Nanotechnologies responds to questions from the judges following his pitch. Photos courtesy of Bob Horton, Creative Image Associates

SAS Nanotechnologies won this year’s award with their proprietary, patent pending anticorrosive coating technology that not only prevents corrosion but also heals and protects metals from corrosion in the case of surface scratch or damage. Founded by Sumedh Surwade, and growing out of his PhD research, the technology was recently awarded an NSF  SBIR  grant to further develop the technology. Dr. Surwade is already in conversations with potential strategic partners for technology testing and licensing and is considering additional routes to market, including manufacturing in Delaware.  Dr. Surwade plans on using his winnings to purchase testing equipment that will speed up product commercialization by reducing the time and cost of testing from 10 days to 3 hours.

For the second time this year, the Emerging Enterprise Center, Delaware’s first small business incubator located at the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, partnered with New Castle County Government, as well as multiple sponsors, to offer the prize package which included:

  • Cash prize of $10,000 from the New Castle County NCC Innovates Program
  • $2,000 business startup and bookkeeping package from SC Associates
  • $1,400 in IT services from Info Solutions
  • 6 month membership in the Emerging Enterprise Center Virtual Incubation Program (valued at $1,800)
  • New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Marketing Package (valued at $1,400)
  • One year membership in World Trade Center Delaware (valued at $395)
  • One year membership in New Castle County Chamber of Commerce (valued at $350)

Each applicant was judged based on a combined score of both their written application and oral pitch.  Judging criteria included business feasibility, understanding of market need and opportunity, clear articulation of value proposition, go-to-market strategy and soft skills.  Three finalists were then selected to pitch before a live audience and a new panel of judges at the Emerging Enterprise Center Luncheon which was held at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington.  The three finalists included SAS Nanotechnologies, D150 Fueling and Smart Kidz Club.

The Grand Prize winner was selected based on a combined judge/audience vote (85%/15%).  The judges included former Swim with the Sharks winner Amira Idris (Thera-V), Dr. Daniel Young (Goldey Beacom College), Sam Waltz (Strategic Capital & Business Counsel) and Dr. Janet Reed (Potter Anderson Corroon, LLP).

Above: Dr. Sumedh Surwade from SAS Nanotechnologies accepts his award from New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer
Back left to right: Dr. Daniel Young (Goldey-Beacom College), Bob Chadwick (New Castle County Chamber of Commerce), Sam Waltz (Strategic Capital & Counsel), Dr. Janet Reed (Potter Anderson Corroon, LLP).
Front left to right: Amira Idris (Thera-V), Dora Cheatham (Emerging Enterprise Center), Matt Meyer (New Castle County Executive), Dr. Sumedh Surwade (SAS Nanotechnologies), Tamarra Morris (New Castle County Government).
Photos courtesy of Bob Horton, Creative Image Associates

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Announces David J. Freschman Entrepreneur of the Year and Entrepreneurial Advocate of the Year

As the 1st Annual Delaware Entrepreneurial Summit approaches, the Chamber of Commerce last week announced the winners of the David J. Freschman Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Entrepreneurial Advocate of the Year Award.

The large number of applications received for both awards were narrowed down to the two winners that most demonstrated the characteristics sought by the selection committee.

David J. Freschman Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Alisa Morkides, Owner and Founder, Brew Ha Ha!

A fateful trip to Florence in the Spring of 1993 was the catalyst to the creation of one of Wilmington’s most beloved coffee hangouts. Educated as a chemist, and working in corporate management, Alisa never let go of her dream to start her own business. But it was while sipping another perfect cappuccino in a setting worthy of a Shakespearean drama that gave her the impetus to open Brew Ha Ha!, Wilmington’s first bona fide espresso café in a 750 square foot store front in Greenville, Delaware. Today, Brew Ha Ha! has grown to 10 coffee houses with sales of over $7 million, multiple awards, including Best Coffee in Delaware for over 22 years in a row. In 2015 Alisa started a second business, Brandywine Coffee Roasters, which sells coffee world wide.

Entrepreneurial Advocate of the Year Award

Mark Olazagasti, Managing Partner, Info Solutions, LLC

As managing partner and founding member of Info Solutions LLC, Mark Olazagasti has helped create and build one of the area’s preeminent IT infrastructure consulting and managed services firm. As a first generation entrepreneur, Mark has taken the lessons he has learned from his more than 25 years of operations, personnel, and project management experience to help mentor local entrepreneurs and students. Mark serves on numerous boards and committees, and as a moderator at various business-related events. In addition, Mark has conducted over 25 Q&A sessions for hundreds of students at local educational institutions including Goldey-Beacom College, Wilmington University, Delaware Technical Community College, and the University of Delaware.

In 2015, Mark founded YourMoney101, a non-profit organization focused on providing financial wellness and mentoring services to individuals and to companies with less than 250 employees.

Green Grazer Goats wins this year’s Swim with the Sharks Video Pitch Competition.

Written by Dora Cheatham, Program Manager, Emerging Enterprise Center.

Beating out ten other startup companies, and despite tough competition, Green Grazer Goats grazed into the no. 1 position to win the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Swim with the Sharks Video Pitch Competition—now in its 5th year and with a Grand Prize totaling over $22,000 in cash and services.

Green Grazer Goats is an eco-friendly farming operation that works hard to turn problem areas into manageable property, efficiently clearing areas of noxious weeds and brush without the need for human labor, heavy equipment, dangerous chemicals – and all at about half the cost.  With their clear vision and plan, Kalyn Butt and Kevin Connor convinced the judges that they had a viable business.

For the first time this year, the Emerging Enterprise Center, Delaware’s first small business incubator partnered with New Castle County Government, as well as multiple sponsors, to offer its largest ever prize package which included:

The competition required participants to submit a 3-minute video pitch showcasing their company and describing how their prize package will be used to grow their business.  The three finalists pitched live before a jury composed of judges from the entrepreneurial and business community.  Judging was based on multiple criteria, including clarity of message and vision, value proposition and feasibility of business concept.

The two other finalists:  DEact Medical Solutions and Drone Workforce Solutions, both of which also impressed the judges with their forward thinking innovations.  All three finalists received prize packages. Videos of all the submissions can be seen on Emerging Enterprise Center Website.

Emerging Enterprise Center Announces Billy D. Productions, LLC as official videographer sponsor for all Finding Your Next Customer and Business Fundamentals workshops for 2017 at the EEC

The Emerging Enterprise Center (EEC) has officially announced that Billy D. Productions, LLC will be the official videographer sponsor for all Finding your Next Customer and Business Fundamentals workshops for 2017. One of the key missions of the EEC is to help businesses develop business skills to tackle not only the nuts and bolts aspects of running a business but also marketing, networking, and sales skills so that they can grow. Billy D. Productions has just recently joined the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce (affiliated with the EEC) and is looking forward to growing his business with the Chamber and the EEC. With this new sponsorship, the EEC can provide one more benefit to its businesses for attending the business education workshops.

The Emerging Enterprise Center wants you to join us for Educational Workshops and Networking! Find a workshop for you and your business at www.eecincubator.com. Register today at www.eecincubator.com. Contact Frank DeSantis at desantisf@ncccc.com or 302-737-4343 for more information on the Emerging Enterprise Center and its many programs that assist businesses in the community.

About Billy D. Productions, LLC:

Every video is a chance to tell a story and at Billy D. Productions I want to be the one to help you tell it. From eternalizing the love on a wedding day to introducing the world to your service or product, I aim to tell your story in a way that will captivate your audience and effectively grow your business.

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Emerging Enterprise Center Announces Costco Wholesale has agreed to Once AGAIN be the official breakfast sponsor for business education events for 2017 at the EEC

Over 60 business education events have been scheduled so far for 2017.

New Castle, DE: The Emerging Enterprise Center (EEC) has officially announced that Costco Wholesale will once again be the breakfast sponsor for the business education workshops in 2017. One of the key missions of the EEC is to help businesses develop business skills to tackle not only the nuts and bolts aspects of running a business but also marketing, networking, and sales skills so that they can grow. Costco Wholesale has been a member of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce (affiliated with the EEC) since 2004 and sponsored over 20 business education events in 2016. The EEC is thrilled to continue this relationship with Costco and to continue providing more benefits to its businesses for attending the business education workshops.

The Emerging Enterprise Center wants you to join us for Educational Workshops and Networking! Find a workshop for you and your business at www.eecincubator.com and register today. Contact Frank DeSantis at desantisf@ncccc.com or 302-737-4343 for more information on the Emerging Enterprise Center and its many programs that assist businesses in the community.

About Costco Wholesale:
costcoThe number one warehouse club offering a wide array of the highest-quality products available from around the world. We offer our members an unconditional guarantee of satisfaction on every item we sell. New Castle County Chamber members receive up to $20 Costco Cash Card when joining at the Executive Membership Level or $10 Costco Cash Card when joining a the Basic Membership Level.

About the Emerging Enterprise Center:
The Incubator is designed to provide business support services to entrepreneurs and associated companies in New Castle County, Delaware. The incubator is not merely about a physical building offering lower rental rates, but rather is a program intended to help new businesses succeed to the point of “graduating” from the program within a defined time period.

Direct Mobile Transit Inc. receives SBA Backed Loan from M&T Bank: Jump start for New Start-up at the Emerging Enterprise Center

New Castle, DE – May 24, 2016

Last Wednesday, Direct Mobile Transit Inc., the newest start-up company at the Emerging Enterprise Center’s business incubator, held their Ribbon Cutting, in front of the four new Ford Transit Vans that were funded in part by the SBA backed Loan received from M&T Bank!

Participating in the Ribbon Cutting were John Fleming, District Director Small Business AdministrationIMG_5808, Yvette O’Donnell and Pat Ponzo from M&T Bank, Frank DeSantis, Program Director of the Emerging Enterprise Center, Mark Kleinschmidt the President of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, along with Direct Mobile Transit drivers, NCC Chamber Ambassadors, John Banks and Ellyn Herbert from the SBA, and other friends and family.

Started by brothers, Michael and Charles Bantum, Direct Mobile Transit Inc. looks to capitalize on the aging baby-boomer population by providing quality transportation service that supports the mobility, well-being and health of seniors and mobility challenged residents of New Castle County, Delaware. After spending the time researching their market, developing their business plan, establishing an understanding of the licensing, regulations, and partnerships necessary to operate in this space, and in building up their own capital to start the business, they incorporated in early 2016. Because of the thoroughness of their preparation, they were able to secure a SBA Loan, through M&T Bank, to purchase the 4 wheel chair accessible vans that they will be operating.

IMG_5798According to Mike Bantum, the idea for Direct Mobile Transit came from a personal situation, of having to deal with an aging relative, who although still very active, was no longer able to drive themselves, and wanted the flexibility to make appointments and continue daily activities without having to depend on relatives’ availability, or traditional van-pool services.

Frank DeSantis from the Emerging Enterprise Center said he is very happy to have DMT join the EEC. “Mike and Chuck Bantum are great examples of the type of entrepreneur we need to see in Delaware, as we seek to ‘grow-our-own’ companies. They saw a need, developed a plan to fulfill that need, and created a thorough Business Plan that demonstrated a good grasp of what they would need to do to achieve their vision.”

Direct Mobile Transit is currently working on hiring and training their drivers, and establishing contracts with some key partners. They expect to be up and running in June, providing transportation for facilities, non-emergency medical transportation and personal car service, that puts their customers in control of their mobility.

About Direct Mobile Transit

Direct Mobile Transit: Providing quality transportation service that supports the mobility, well-being and health of seniors and mobility challenged residents of New Castle County, Delaware. www.directmobiletransit.com

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About Emerging Enterprise Center

The Emerging Enterprise Center, a New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Initiative, is a small business incubator designed to provide businesses with a comprehensive program of Support, Advice and Access to resources, in a nurturing environment, so that they can grow their business, develop business skills and graduate with a sustainable business model

EEC chamber bldg

Contacts:

Mike Bantum, President, Direct Mobile Transit, (302) 218-5106

Frank DeSantis, Program Director, Emerging Enterprise Center, (302) 737-4343

Emerging Enterprise Center Announces K-Video & Web Productions as official videographer sponsor for all business education events for 2016 at the EEC

10 business education events are scheduled for the remainder of 2016.

New Castle, DE, May 2016:  The Emerging Enterprise Center (EEC) has officially announced that K-Video & Web Productions will be the official videographer sponsor for all business education workshops for the remainder of  2016. One of the key missions of the EEC is to help businesses develop business skills to tackle not only the nuts and bolts aspects of running a business but also marketing, networking, and sales skills so that they can grow. K-Video has been a member of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce (affiliated with the EEC) for over a year now and has never taken on a series this large with the Chamber. With this new sponsorship, the EEC can provide one more benefit to its businesses for attending the business education workshops.

The Emerging Enterprise Center wants you to join us for Educational Workshops and Networking! Find a workshop for you and your business at www.eecincubator.com. Register today at www.eecincubator.com. Contact Frank DeSantis at desantisf@ncccc.com or 302-737-4343 for more information on the Emerging Enterprise Center and its many programs that assist businesses in the community.

About K-Video & Web Productions

K-Video & Web Productions specializes in Safety, Training, and Marketing video production. K-Video has been providing high quality, affordable video solutions since 1980. Our clientele ranges from small, local businesses to large, global corporations. We develop products that will represent your organization with pride and integrity.