CTNext will bring together start-up businesses seeking the financing to move forward, providing the opportunity for them to pitch at the next Entrepreneur Innovation Awards (EIA) event scheduled for Thursday, June 15 at the LOFT at Chelsea Piers in Stamford. Connecticut's "innovation ecosystem" will be highlighted as the nine companies, from all across the state, will be competing for $10,000 grants. The competitors include:
- Deo2go (Fairfield): Creating a topical delivery device that can be filled with a variety of products including, but not limited to deodorant, lip balms, and sunscreen
- Egghead (Danbury): Developing a new way to package and sell ice cream that brings new revenue to a mature market
- FallCall Solutions (Trumbull): Creating a tele-monitoring system for the Apple watch and other mobile systems for elders and caregivers
- Fjord Weather Systems (Wilton): Developing a way to turn every boat on the water into a weather-monitoring system
- LiquidSphere (New Haven): Creating an interactive app that will connect people who struggle with stress, anxiety, depression and addiction with therapists via text and video sessions
- Lucca Ventures (Southington): Developing a Bluetooth-enabled microphone attachment to a full-face oxygen mask, letting patients communicate clearly while wearing it
- Obvia (West Hartford): Manufacturing dual-winglet blades and semi-shroud power upgrade for Sunforce Wind Turbines that will improve efficiency and scalability for the turbines
- Sweet Equations (East Hartford): Making custom candy cakes, edible cupcake displays and other desserts through the development of an on-demand decorating device
- Trekeffect (Lyme): Developing a system to let individual travel planners buy and sell their itineraries.
To determine the finalist pool, each company’s application was vetted by a separate and independent team of reviewers who deemed their products, services and/or business ideas worthy of consideration for an EIA. Each finalist will have an opportunity to compete for a $10,000 grant as well as the judges’ and crowd favorite awards, each in the amount of $2,000 each.
The judges who will hear the company pitches and determine the winners include:
- Elena Cahill: Senior Lecturer, University of Bridgeport, Entrepreneurship Department
- Jim Kern: Co-founder, COMRADITY
- Greg Kivenzor: Associate Professor of Marketing, Director of Experiential Learning Collaborative, UCONN- Stamford
- Mark Lasoff: Founder, LearnToProgram
- Mike Roer: President, The Entrepreneurship Foundation
Throughout the year, CTNext hosts the EIA, a Shark Tank–style pitch event where Connecticut-based startups and entrepreneurs compete for grants that can be applied toward a specific project that will help accelerate growth.
CT Next support the success of companies and entrepreneurs by providing guidance, resources, and networks to accelerate their growth. CT Next is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Connecticut Innovations, described as "a network of passionate people who offer services to busy entrepreneurs." Launched in 2012, there are now more than 1,500 members. Since its inception in 2014, CTNext has held 11 total events in cities and towns all over Connecticut, awarding $544,000 to 52 unique companies.