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‘Persistence Pays Off’ Message at 2016 Innovation Park TechGrant Competition
Two previously defeated TechGrant finalists return, take home first and second place prize
TALLAHASSEE, FL – On Thursday, May 19, 2016, more than 120 friends, supporters, investors, researchers, and entrepreneurs watched five finalists compete for a shared prize of $25,000 at the annual Innovation Park TechGrant Elevator Pitch Night event. Winners also received scholarships to the Leon County Research and Development Authority’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Program, and inclusion into the TechGrant Winners’ Circle group. The event was co-presented by Hancock Bank and Danfoss.
NP Group, which developed an optical fiber sensor with impact damage monitoring and load sensing for active control in wind turbine blades, was granted $15,000. PointCatcher, which built a network-styled loyalty points program for small and micro-businesses currently absent from the loyalty landscape to help increase local spending, was granted $10,000.
Last year, NP Group was a finalist in the competition. PointCatcher applied, but it wasn’t selected to compete as a finalist. After receiving feedback from last year’s competition and applying the feedback provided by expert judges, both companies decided to apply again.
The competition was intense. Each finalist was given just five minutes to pitch to a panel of five judges what their business is and why it is worthy of investment. Each pitch session was followed by a five-minute Q&A, where finalists were tested not only by the judges’ questions, but also by a running clock.
After the scores were tabulated and the time came to announce the winners, the Executive Director of the Leon County Research and Development Authority and event emcee made it clear that this moment was much more than announcing the winners. This moment recognized that persistence pays off. He shared that the two winners sought extra coaching to better prepare them for the competition, and took advantage of every opportunity to practice their pitch in front of, and receive feedback from different audiences.
When the winners were announced, the excitement and pride were palpable and everyone in the room was reminded that supporting a competition like this is as much about supporting the people behind the company logos as it is about their business idea. Early-stage companies experience many challenges as they navigate the process of building a business, but one thing they never worry about in Tallahassee is its supportive community.
LCRDA Executive Director Ron Miller notes “Tonight’s winners demonstrated that the TechGrant competition is as much about persistently refining your business idea, honing your message, and perfecting your pitch, as it is about actually receiving the cash. In the long run, that perseverance and persistence paid off for both our grant winners.”