Meet Our Grand Prize Winners

 

This year’s Innovations 4 Entrepreneurs Grand Prize Winners include three Startups and three Entrepreneurs. Read their stories below:

 

 

Entrepreneur Businesses

 

Kidsports

Kidsports

Stoughton, MA

Kidsports would use technology to elevate the customer experience. Today's Family Entertainment Center competes for attention with iPads to afternoons at the Movies. Our challenge is to be on the cutting edge of technology to provide our customers with a unique experience that can only be had at Kidsports. If Kidsports received this prize money we would immediately invest it into the customer experience. The enhancements would begin for customers even before they walk through the door. This would start with the development of a customer relation management system to integrate with the website of our company. This would allow our customers to register for birthday parties, indoor playground admissions, childcare services and special events using our enhanced website. This would also give Kidsports the ability to have customers check-in via smartphones which will reduce wait times and free up staff time to enhance the customer experiences. These improvements would allow us to automate our marketing. For example it would provide parents a money savings coupon if their child's upcoming birthday is booked at Kidsports. Also, weekly Kidsports Indoor Playground special deals would be sent to our membership. The rest of the prize money would be invested to enhance our facility and add new state of art technology for our customers to enjoy. We would like to build an interactive video game theater to play the most popular video games on 15ft HD screens with surround sound!

Westlight_Studios

Westlight Studios

Franklin, TN

Technology plays a crucial role at Westlight Studios. All of our work posted online and most of our interactions are done over the internet these days. This year Westlight Studios will be starting Westlight360.com. It is an online service were we can share the studio photography experience with the whole world online. With the new technology of the 360 degree cameras,we can place a photographer in the middle of a set where they can see where all the lights are and the interactions between the people on set. This is a very valuable experience for one to view. We have tested the technology and it is just going to get better in the next year. We also plan on weekly video releases of new and popular music artist and songwriters. The videos will be called Westlight Sessions. There will be some times when we will take them live. This will give studio and artist more visibility. The setting for the Westlight Sessions will be filmed against a very popular wall we have made in our east studio. A wall made if pallets and hanging Edison lights. Along with sharing our knowledge online, we also want to our members and students to learn online. We have a special room at Westlight Studios where our members can go online and use Apple computers to learn how to use editing programs like Photoshop and Premier. We use Lynda.com , YouTube, Creativelive.com and more sources for this.We need a strong and reliable network for this.

Hall_Brands

Hall Brands LLC

Tigard, OR

Hall Brands LLC would use technology to overcome process bottlenecks that slow our manufacturing and tracking processes. With the right technology, we could greatly increase our production capacity with the addition of just a few pieces of high-tech equipment. We currently have low-tech steps in our manufacturing processes that greatly increase labor costs and keep us from reaching our productivity goals. Our packaging, coding and tracking processes are very manual, and fail to leverage technological solutions that are available in the market today. We use a semi-automatic packaging machine. Our date and lot coding is done by hand, and tracked manually. We could overcome these bottlenecks with automated packaging equipment and a computer-based product coding and tracking system. First, better packing equipment would allow us to increase our packaging rate ten-fold without any additional cost, and help our overall production line meet its theoretical throughput. Second, better coding and tracking equipment would allow us to track and trace our products on a more granular level, and may provide a sales advantage when approaching large corporate customers. These few technological steps would allow our business to grow into nationwide grocery distribution and hopefully win millions of new customers.

 

 

 

Startup Businesses

 

Marketplace_NewEngland

Marketplace New England, Inc

Concord, NH

"Critical to the growth of our business, we plan to utilize technology in many ways:

  • We recently launched our E-commerce platform which links to a cloud-based point-of-sale system. This system allows us to have live inventory seamlessly tracked through multiple sales channels. Enhanced technology allows us to optimize for varied search engines and mobile platforms so that we can reach customers wherever they want to shop.
  • Social Media offers tremendous marketing and educational opportunities for our business and our vendors to cross promote and reach new customers. We strive to link our pages to our vendors and vice versa. We seek to post interesting and relevant content in addition to calls to action. For those artists not yet using social media- we help them get started.
  • Our next big goal is to develop video materials that will enhance the customer connection to the artist. For example, we have a goat milk soap/lotion maker who raises the goats on her own farm. She uses all organic raw materials and controls the entire production process. A video that can be shared through you tube on our channel and theirs will greatly enhance the shopping experience and build brand loyalty.

Technology is a great equalizer for small businesses constantly looking for creative ways to find new markets and convert new customers. Whether for communication, education or advertising efforts, technology is essential in all of our plans for the future."

CAVU_Biotherapies

CAVU Biotherapies, Inc

Houston, TX

Over 17 million pet dogs in the U.S. are currently living with cancer and, like their human counterparts,have poor survival rates.Traditional therapies barely make a dent in the war against cancer.We envision a world in which the immense power of an individual’s immune system is harnessed to defeat cancer.Technology from Comcast will allow us to conduct real-time communication with veterinarians across the nation through a dedicated website portal.These lines of communication are vital to help them understand and monitor the dynamic systemic changes of their patient's health in the course of immunotherapy.Information technology plays a critical role in the across the board monitoring of our novel integrated cellular expansion platforms developed specifically for CAVU's Oncolytic LymphoTherapy(COLT),and the patient sample tracking via QR codes through each step of the process.Advanced computer technology will permit the integration and communication between several mechanical systems to streamline manufacturing and optimization of COLT services and ISAV/IHAV,our immune-marker-based big data analysis platforms.By leveraging cloud services (CPU cycles, RAID storage etc.),we could jumpstart our IT firepower to shorten our time to market for web services already in development.Powered by the on-demand scalability, accessibility,speed,and cost savings of the cloud, we anticipate rolling out,ISAV/IHAV,with minimal investment while providing dogs with maximal health benefits.

VR-Therapy-and-Counseling-Center

VR Therapy and Counseling Center, LLC

Grand Rapids, MI

Our technology vision is to build a “behavioral rehearsal system,” which will allow us to help a wide range of individuals in our community. The system will use virtual reality, along with facial and full-body motion tracking, which will allow our therapists to precisely control characters within the virtual environments we create. For instance, if a teen is having difficulty in school settings, we will be able to place him or her in a virtual school setting where he or she will be able to learn more effective interpersonal skills, with our therapists taking on the roles of other children, teachers, etc. The system will use voice modulation, along with the motion tracking, in such a way that any therapist will be able to control any character within the simulation in real time, mapping all movement and communication in a way that matches the specific character being controlled. For instance, if a female teenager were having difficulties interacting with her peers, our therapists will be able to take on the role of any other teenagers in the simulation, regardless of age, sex, and physical characteristics. In the past, therapists have had to resign themselves to conducting “roleplay” sessions in their offices, but with this technology, our therapists will be able to do what was previously impossible: place individuals in the exact settings they are having difficulties with and then present them with controlled interactions that will help them overcome their challenges.