We've been selected as a finalist in the Ben Franklin Technology Partners' Big Ideas Contest! Over 100 businesses applied for this contest, and only 10 were selected as finalists!
We'll be pitching later this month to win up to $25,000 in investment funding for a BIG IDEA that we've been working on for awhile!
Ronald Fisher of the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat interviewed our Principal Ryan Kieta about this exciting opportunity!
'Big Idea' may pay off for local finalists
Several of the area’s entrepreneurs have been named as finalist in the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern Pennsylvania’s “Big Idea” contest.
The contest – which is gearedtoward entrepreneurs who have been thinking about developing or commercializing an innovative product, process or new software application – will be awarding prizes totaling up to $50,000.
To be eligible for the contest, participants had to reside in one of these 12 counties: Cambria, Fulton, Indiana, Somerset, Jefferson, Blair, Bedford, Huntingdon, Centre, Juniata, Mifflin and Clearfield.
This year’s cash prizes will be awarded to four winners. First place is $25,000; second is $15,000; third is $7,500; and a People’s Choice Award is $2,500. In addition to the money, the first-place winner will receive:
• A pre-seed grant from Ben Franklin valued at up to $10,000.
• A one-year pass to seminars offered by Ben Franklin’s eMarketing Learning Center valued
• A free consult (and proposal prep), valued at $3,000 on how to access federal research
and development grant money from the Innovation Partnership.
Ben Franklin’s Big Idea finalists include: Adam Stokes, with muonSoft (Blair County); Anthony Biddle, with Siterite (Blair County); Heather Moyer, with Crossroads Consulting (Cambria County); Ryan Kieta, with Real Design (Cambria County); Justin Capouellez, with Boomerang Beacon (Cambria County); Hunter Swisher, with Phospholutions (Centre County); James Wang, with SimplrTechnologies (Centre County); Donald Nixon, with Nixon’s Technical Service (Clearfield County); Joseph DiGangi, with Assure-Tech (Huntingdon County); and Mark Kasterko, with MT Arms (Somerset County).
“This is exciting,” said Justin Capouellez, of Johnstown. “I’m looking forward to what is next.”
Capouellez said his Boomerang Beacon application will help with attracting and retaining employment in the area. “This is one of those events that promotes the positives here in town,” he said. “It’s good for young people to see that these opportunities are available. I’m excited to hear what others are working on."
“We all have different ideas, but the same goal of bringing something innovative to the area,” he said.
Moyer said she saw the contest as a great way to secure funding for her product, a device used for safety consulting. “Win or lose, it’s an opportunity to pitch to investors,” Moyer said. “I’m excited to go to the next step.”
Finalists are tasked with producing a detailed business plan for their product.
They also may be required to participate in training workshops before the winner is announced Nov. 16.
“This is super exciting,” said Kieta, who has developed a product utilizing 3-D computer- aided design. “It’s always good to bring good PR to Cambria County and Johnstown,” he said, “and it’s great to be a part of that.”