Updated March 23 at 6:25am

Biz plan competition names semi-finalists


PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Business Plan Competition announced the semi-finalists for its 2012 competition on Wednesday.

The 13 semi-finalists were chosen from 75 emerging and would-be entrepreneurs and are eligible for prizes valued at more than $200,000.

Businesses submitted entries under one of two different tracks. The entrepreneur track was open to any entrepreneur or would-be entrepreneur and the student track was open to any student enrolled in and attending an accredited college or university.

Entrepreneur Track Semi-Finalists

  • Buy with Heart – An online service for social enterprise products and services

  • CREmedical Corp. – A biotech company focused on epilepsy

  • Easy Island Inc. – A marketer of all-natural, biodegradable dinnerware

  • JumpOffCampus – An online tool for students to find safe housing near campus

  • RecoVend – Offers a collaborative purchasing platform for education administrators

  • Siren Marine Inc. – Developer of a waterproof GSM/GPS controlled by a cell phone

  • Splitwise – a tool to help groups, down to roommates, calculate cost-sharing arrangements

Student Track Semi-Finalists

  • Citybase Security – A platform that integrates systems for emergency responders and public reporting of crimes.

  • Fund For America – a platform that helps businesses tell their stories and offer equity to investors.

  • InstaChef – Helps consumers save money while cooking healthy, fast

  • JC Wind – Creator of carbon-fiber based, inexpensive wind turbines.

  • Overhead.fm – A web app that provides a customizable music stream

  • Solar4Cents – Maker of low-cost solar cells for solar panel manufacturers

A “special award” will be open to one of the 13 semi-finalists developing a technology business.

“The range of proposed business ideas shows that entrepreneurship continues to have strong appeal to a broad cross section of people, which, no matter who wins, is good for Rhode Island,” said competition co-chair David Mitchell, dean of the College of Business at Johnson & Wales University.

Finalists will be selected later this month and the winners will be announced at the May 3 Rhode Island Business Expo.

The Rhode Island Business Plan Competition will award more than $200,000 in cash and services to competition winners - including a $40,000 cash prize to the grand prize winner. To receive prizes, applicants must agree to establish or continue operations in Rhode Island.

Major sponsors for the 2012 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition include: Davol Inc., Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, Embolden, Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP, Johnson & Wales University, Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co. Ltd., Providence Journal Charitable Foundation, Rhode Island Commodores, R.I. Economic Development Corporation and the University of Rhode Island.

Other sponsors include AM 790, Amica Insurance, Bank Rhode Island, Bryant University, Braemar Energy Ventures, Business Development Company of Rhode Island, Care New England, Center for Women & Enterprise, Cherrystone Angel Group, Citizens Bank of Rhode Island, Collette Vacations, Fidelity Investments, FM Global, Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, GTECH Corp., Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Nortek Inc., NuLabel Technologies, Point Judith Capital, Providence College, Providence Business News, Rhode Island Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, R.I. Science & Technology Advisory Council, R.I. Small Business Development Center, Slater Technology Fund, Tech Collective, Teknor Apex, Verizon and Ximedica.

In addition, support is being given by Banneker Industries Inc., CVS Caremark Corp., Freedom National Bank, Hayes & Sherry Real Estate Services, InsureMyTrip.com, Schneider Electric, ShapeUp, Taco Inc. and TD Bank.


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