The Drive, a business pitch competition presented by Kokomo-based co-working space The Shared Drive, awarded a total of $10,000 in seed money to three finalists last week. The winning pitches detailed plans for software development, solar power storage and door locking systems for schools.
The contest, an initiative of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, was open to anyone with a startup idea or expansion of an existing business located within Howard County.
The judging panel included Jim Alender, former president and chief executive officer of Salin Bank & Trust, Peggy Cenova, regional director of the East Central Indiana Small Business Development Center and Alan Krabbenhoft, dean of the School of Business at Indiana University Kokomo.
The winners who took home seed money were:
- Tim Branyan of RepuStream- $6,000 for his online reputation management software
- Chris Rohaly of Green Alternatives Inc.-$3,000 for his plan to pursue solar energy saving systems
- Brian Mikesell of Strong Arm Locking Systems- $1,000 for his patented lock for classrooms
“It was fitting that this competition took place in Inventrek Tech Park,” said Mike McCool, manager of economic development for the Alliance in a news release. “With this event we are building on the strong history of facilitating the growth of small businesses and looking to the future to recognize, support and celebrate entrepreneurs who are growing their businesses and creating jobs right here in our community.”
All finalists were awarded a one-year membership to the Greater Kokomo Chamber of Commerce to help them grow their business ventures with shared resources and networking opportunities.
The event was sponsored by Duke Energy, Community First Bank of Indiana, Benchmark Mechanical, NIPSO, Indiana University Kokomo, City of Kokomo and Howard County government.