Three teams of entrepreneurs in the Hampton Roads area are now steps closer to launching their businesses. Dozens of teams presented a 90 second pitch on Friday night and 10 were selected over the weekend to deliver a 5 minute pitch on Sunday evening. Three teams were then crowned as the 2016 Start Peninsula winners from last weekend’s competition! Unmanned Aerial Propulsion Systems, designers of a quiet and safe drone with no exposed spinning propellers, won first place and $10,000. Harper (Oso Bear), an artificial intelligence and interactive learning toy that helps children tell their own stories, won second place and $7500 while AnswersNOW, a web-based mobile service to help parents of autistic children, won third place and $5000. All three winners also received free membership in a Peninsula business incubator for a period of 90 days. Each winner has the choice to select either the Hampton University Business Incubator or the Peninsula Technology Incubator in Hampton or the Launchpad or Ignition Center in Williamsburg.
Twenty-nine new business ideas were pitched by inventors, students, designers, programmers, and engineers on Friday night with participants describing their business idea in 90 seconds. The goal was to define the idea or concept by explaining the product, service, or value proposition in a short duration of time while exciting the audience and judges about the idea’s potential. Ten semi-finalists including website developers, service providers, and product designers were named by the judges to develop their businesses over the weekend. Semi-finalists formed teams with attendees and mentors and worked with programmers, marketing experts, financial planners, attorneys and others to transform their ideas into executable business plans. “Shark Tank” style presentations on Sunday night were scored on Business Model, Customer Validation, Execution and Design with winners given an important boost for their businesses.
Entrepreneurs can look forward to another opportunity to present business ideas and develop a business plan at the sixth annual Start Peninsula that will be hosted in Williamsburg in November 2017.