Incentive for Inventors
Gainesville's innovation community is producing amazing ideas and products and for the second year there's a little extra incentive for inventors and entrepreneurs: the annual Cade Prize.
This year 92 entrepreneurs and inventors from Florida applied for the prize, which is $50 thousand cash and free office and lab space for a year. And this year's entries show a wide range of ideas.
Dorrie Hipschman said, "I would say we have just about every kind of idea and every kind of person." She also said the inventions are as diverse as the inventors.
Hipschman said, "Oh we've seen everything from a company that develops cushioning for running shoes, to barrels of hope which helps people rebuild after earthquakes and natural disasters, we have quite a few green plastic products, we have exoskeleton products that will help you instead of crutches."
The 16 ideas still in the running for the prize will submit a business plan. Hipschman said the process in and of itself is designed to help spur the next step in taking an idea to the public. She said, "The sweet sixteen last year I think will all tell you it was very beneficial, they had access to venture capitalists, people who were interested in learning more about their business."
The process and the prize have allowed last year's winner, a software company based in Gainesville, that offers an online database called Tutor Matching Service to invest in their software design and to expand services.
Co-Founder of TMS Ethan Fieldman said, "We were a night and weekend project that has now turned into a full time project. We spent a lot of the money on just getting our operations bigger and better, expanding to more universities, to more students, getting more tutors signed up."
And TMS has big plans. He said, "In the future we would like to have all of these bright young UF and Sante Fe students tutoring the world." This type of innovation is the ultimate purpose of the contest and the Cade Museum Foundation.
Hipschman said, "The big picture really is to partner with all of the other innovative companies and chambers of commerce and business incubators who are trying to make Florida and we are starting with Gainesville, the innovation hub of the country...one of the places that you would expect to see cutting edge technology."
Most of the semi finalists are from Gainesville, one is from Alachua, one from Tampa and there's even one from Switzerland. The winner will be announced May 12th.
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