And the Finalists Are…

An impressive group of entrepreneurs presented to a team of judges this past few weeks in the preliminary pitches for the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Annual Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition.

A total of 18 companies pitched before the finalist were chosen. For the first time ever in the history of the pitch competition, we had a tie in our judges scoring. Since there has never been a residence for this, the judges felt the need to include the third place winner in the competition as well since the scores so close. We are happy to announce that this year there will be four companies pitching in the finals.

These four companies will compete for more than $14,000 in cash and services in front of a live audience on November 1st to be held at Harry’s Savoy on Naamans Road in Wilmington. The Grand Prize represents a combination of partnerships with New Castle County Government and the NCC Innovates Program, as well as entrepreneurial service providers and sponsors, including Harvard Business Services Inc., The Williams Law Firm, Small Business Administration, and World Trade Center Delaware.

The finalists are (in alpha order):

2M, LLC is an advanced battery technology company, commiteed to providing superior, reliable and afford energy storage products including lithium ion battery materials and battery cells through innovation and cutting edge technology.

AnCatt is the first successful high-performance, environmentally-friendly, anti-corrosion paint coating that does not use any toxic heavy-metals such as chromates, lead, or zinc.

Lignolix, Inc. is a technology company that sustainably makes synthetic materials from renewable biomass wast streams. Currently, it has a process that selectively breaks down lignin to make synthetic materials.

Wilminvest, LLC is a company that combats the vacant and abandoned housing plague afflicting Wilmington, DE. The company acquires, renovates, and rents out vacant and distressed resident real estate as permanent supportive housing. The company uses federal and state funds to support displaced individuals and families who are experiencing unstable housing situations.

All 18 applicants submitted a 5 page business canvas and were invited to present a preliminary pitch before a panel of judges.  Each applicant was judged based on a combined score of both their written application and verbal pitch.  Judging criteria included business feasibility, understanding of market need and opportunity, clear articulation of value proposition, go-to-market strategy and soft skills.  The finalists will pitch before a live audience and a new panel of judges at the Swim with the Sharks Luncheon to be at Harry’s Savoy Ballroom, 2020 Naamans Road, Wilmington, DE 19810.  The winner will be selected based on a combined judge/audience vote (75%/25%).

All of the applicants did a wonderful job. They are as follows:

  • 360VR Technology
  • Addi Naturals
  • As Told by Women
  • Children’s Place Child Development Center
  • Circus Monkeys
  • DX Technology Group
  • Fur Baby Tracker
  • Lunch Karma
  • PS3G, Inc (DocVilla)
  • RiKarbon, Inc.
  • Second Chances Farm
  • Street Xpressions Auto
  • Twisted Theatre
  • YaYa Podcasting

The Emerging Enterprise Center is an initiative of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce and New Castle County Economic Development Council.  The Emerging Enterprise Center is a business incubator that helps start-up businesses develop a long- term sustainable model, grow their business, and learn essential entrepreneurial skills.

Since its inception in 2008, the Emerging Enterprise Center has assisted 44 businesses.  These businesses have generated over $69 million in revenue and employed 231 people while in the program.

Swim with the Sharks Luncheon to have Keynote

For the first time ever, the Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition Luncheon will feature a keynote speaker. This speaker is Iola Harper, Deputy Commerce Director for the Office of Economic Opportunity of Philadelphia.

Iola Harper is a nationally-recognized, award-winning advocate for small businesses and urban neighborhoods. She has spent well over two decades working diligently with minority and women-owned firms and economic development agencies across the Delaware Valley, helping them gain access to needed financial, technical, and contract opportunity. The small business and economic development agencies that she has worked with are too numerous to name, but her work and efforts have benefited thousands of small business locally and regionally.  In 2016 she began work as the Deputy Director of Commerce for the city of Philadelphia. In this role she runs the Office of Economic Opportunity. This job involves ensuring that people of color, women and disabled-owned firms have equal access to city, quasi-city and some private sector contracts. Iola looks at this as an opportunity to open the door for businesses that she helped prepare to walk through.  Her success working with not only small businesses but in urban neighborhoods garnered the attention of former Governor of PA when she was named one of Pennsylvania’s top 50 Women in Business. Her work drew a national spotlight several years ago when she was honored by the Small Business Administration as one of the Nation’s top small business advocates and when she was named one of Philadelphia’s most influential women by the NAACP.

Come and hear from Iola and get inspired by our three finalist entrepreneurs on November 1 . Click here to register.

Five Reasons to Apply for the 7th Annual Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition

The pitch competition is back and by popular demand we have significantly extended the timeline to apply for the pitch. WE are in full swing to find the next start-up winner in Delaware. If you think your start-up has the right stuff, then please apply now.

Not sure whether you should apply? We think it is a no-brainer if you are a start-up under 5 years old, but we will break it down for you. Here are five reasons you should apply to compete in the Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition.

  1. $10,000 Cash Grand Prize and other additional in-kind services

What can we say? Cash is king and for a start-up $10,000 can help jump start your business.

2. Brand Awareness

Gain exposure for your business.

3. Find possible mentors for you and your business.

The judges that will be listening to your pitch are already mentors out in the community and have demonstrated their potential to help businesses. They can connect you with people who can be beneficial in supporting you such as other mentors, business partners, or advisors.

4. Perfect your business plan pitch

Take every opportunity to practice your pitch over and over and over again.

5. Receive input from professionals on your business plan and pitch

Feedback can be hard, but it’s good. The judges are there to help you progress and grow.

And one extra bonus just in case by now we still haven’t convinced you it’s worth applying…

It won’t cost you a thing to apply. So you have nothing to lose.

Click here to find out more.

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart…but help is at hand!

Sometimes the idea is the easy part.  And for scientists and technologists it’s just the beginning of a very long road.

For 2018 Swim with the Sharks winner Sumedh Surwade of SAS Nanotechnologies it began with PhD research which led to a proprietary, patent pending anticorrosive coating technology that not only prevents corrosion but also heals and protects metals from corrosion in the cause of surface scratches or damage.  Next came an NSF SBIR grant for further development, and conversations with potential strategic partners for technology testing and licensing. Today, Dr. Surwade is evaluating additional applications and routes to market, including manufacturing in Delaware.  That’s the short version.

Sharron Cirillo of SC Associates presents Sumedh Surwade with an SC Associates Business Starter Backpack as they discuss his short- and long-term accounting needs.

You would think it ends once the technology is developed, proven and accepted.  Not quite.  Then comes the day to day blocking and tackling of running a business which requires just as critical a foundation.  Fortunately, the EEC and its partners are here to help.  Having won the EEC’s Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition, Dr. Surwade will be receiving a New Castle County Government NCC Innovates $10,000 award that he will be using to purchase vital testing equipment.  This equipment will speed up product commercialization by reducing the time (and associated cost) of testing from 10 days to 3 hours.  And last week, Dr. Surwade met with Rich Roux of Info Solutions, LLC and Sharron Cirillo of SC Associates, SWTS sponsors, and both of whom donated services to the winning company.  Info Solutions, LLC have discussed what Dr. Surwade’s IT needs will look like as he seeks to scale SAS Nanotechnologies, and SC Associates will be working with him to ensure that the financial processes he has in place can adapt and grow as his business grows.   As for the Emerging Enterprise Center…. Dr. Surwade is all set to hold his first Advisory Board meeting at his new Riverfront Conference Room!

Richard Roux of Info Solutions talks to Dr. Surwade about IT considerations as his business grows.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition Finalists Announced

An impressive group of entrepreneurs presented to a team of judges this week in the preliminary pitches for the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Annual Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition.

A total of 12 companies pitched before the final three were chosen.  These three companies will compete for more than $16,000 in cash and services in front of a live audience on 28th September, to be held at the Grand Opera House on Market Street in Wilmington. The Grand Prize represents a combination of partnerships with New Castle County Government and the NCC Innovates Program, as well as entrepreneurial service providers and sponsors, including SC Associates, Info Solutions and World Trade Center Delaware. The finalists include:

D150 Fueling, LLC is an on-site fueling and fuel marketing company for commercial fleets that offers Ultra-Low-Sulfur Diesel, Biodiesel and Off-Road Diesel.  Coupled with FuelCloud software, D150 Fueling offers a fueling program tailored to an individual fleet’s need that saves time, money and emissions.  With contracts in hand, D150 Fueling is in full launch mode and ready to expand its market.

SAS Nanotechnologies, LLC has developed a 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/damage. Growing out of PhD research, the technology was recently awarded an NSF SBIR grant to further develop the technology and is already in conversations with potential strategic partners for technology testing and licensing.

SmartKidzClub, Inc. is an innovative, affordable EdTech platform that creates original, currently relevant and unique educational content that is designed to interact and engage with the large and growing majority of the new generation of children ages 1-11 that is using, and has access to mobile devices.

All 12 applicants submitted a 5 page business canvas and were invited to present a preliminary pitch before a panel of judges.  Each applicant was judged based on a combined score of both their written application and verbal pitch.  Judging criteria included business feasibility, understanding of market need and opportunity, clear articulation of value proposition, go-to-market strategy and soft skills.   The 3 finalists will pitch before a live audience and a new panel of judges at the Swim with the Sharks Luncheon to be at the  Grand Opera House (Studio 1) in Market Street, Wilmington.  The winner will be selected based on a combined judge/audience vote (85%/15%).

All of the applicants – who have been invited to showcase their business at the event with a small table – included:

  • 360VR Technology
  • Body Wisdom Wellness
  • Craft Beverage Services
  • Culture Crush
  • Elev8 My Life
  • Mail Express Services
  • Mamaste Doula & Birth Services
  • My MedChoices
  • Vegan Healthy

The Emerging Enterprise Center is an initiative of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce and New Castle County Economic Development Council.  The Emerging Enterprise Center is a business incubator that helps start up businesses develop a long term sustainable model, grow their business, and learn essential entrepreneurial skills.

Since its inception in 2008, the Emerging Enterprise Center has assisted 42 businesses.  These businesses have generated over $62 million in revenue and employed 200 people while in the program.

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.

Williams Humphreys and Company to Sponsor Swim with the Sharks Video Pitch Competition again along with others

The Emerging Enterprise Center is excited to once again have Williams Humphreys and Company as the Presenting Sponsor for the Swim with the Sharks Video Pitch Competition Program.

By being a Presenting Sponsor, Williams Humphreys and Company can bridge the gap between the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the small business community in New Castle County, Delaware.

In addition, the Emerging Enterprise Center has received sponsorships from Young, Conaway, Stargatt, and Taylor, LLP, as well as Advertising is Simple (a graduate from the EEC).

For more information on the Swim With The Sharks Video Pitch Competition please click here.

If you are interested in sponsoring this program, please contact Erica Crell at crelle@ncccc.com.

 

 

We are Excited to Announce the Finalists for the Swim with the Sharks Video Pitch Competition

Emerging Enterprise Center Announces Finalists for the 1st Annual EEC Luncheon Featuring the Swim with the Sharks Video Pitch Competition

New Castle, DE, September 2016: The Emerging Enterprise Center has officially announced the three finalists of the Swim with the Sharks Video Pitch Competition. The Swim with the Sharks program began in June with a workshop on “How to Use Video to Market” and a workshop in July on “How to Create an Effective Pitch.” These workshops were all in an effort to educate submitters and the business community as a whole how to create a video pitch. The submission process was a month long from August to September. A panel of judges rated and voted on the videos on Friday, September 16th and the finalists were contacted and announced. The three finalists are:

  • JADE Biotech LLC, a University of Delaware graduate that has invented a narcotics waste well to help reduce waste, cost, and drug abuse.
  • Vibrating Therapeutic Apparel, a University of Delaware graduate that has invented a sleeve for amputees to manage their phantom leg pain.
  • NERDiTNOW, a University of Delaware graduate that is offering a mobile solution and wide range of products and services for IT repairs and troubleshooting.

The winner of the Grand Prize of $5,000 in cash and services will be voted on live via text to vote at the 1st Annual EEC Luncheon at the World Café Live at the Queen on September 23rd.

The EEC wants you to join us for Networking, Finalists Showcases, Voting, and Luncheon on September 23rd at the World Café Live at the Queen! Register today at www.eecincubator.com.  Contact Heather Fisher at fisherh@ncccc.com or 302-737-4343 for information.