SEEDspot, the local business incubator, announced the first group of ventures to participate in the eight-month curriculum. At the SEEDspot kick-off event last week, each of the 16 ventures addressed a crowd of hundred of attendees who gathered in the Levine Machine Building on Grant and Sixth streets.
The inaugural group of entrepreneurs includes a wide range of business types from web-based ventures to products developed for people with special needs. Since announcing the opening of the program earlier this summer, SEEDspot combed through more than 200 entries before selecting the 16 finalists.
See also: - SEEDspot: Campaign to Fund a Full-Length Documentary Pops Up on Kickstarter - CO+HOOTS to Join SEEDspot on Newly Dubbed "Washington Row" - SEEDspot: A Hub for Entrepreneurial Projects is Coming Soon to Phoenix
The program, which includes mentorships, general resources and training for the up-and-coming businesses, began on Monday and will run for a total of eight weeks. In addition of access to office space, the businesses will gain access to community members and have opportunities to forge corporate connections on both local and national scales.
Scott MacDonald, the entrepreneur behind the startup HearBudz, says he hopes the program will help him develop distribution plans for his product. McDonald taught himself to read and write patents and wrote the patent for his product himself.
His company makes attachments to regular earphones that move the speaker outside of the ear canal. The small adjustment of the earphone makes listening to music safer while performing other activities such as skiing and hiking. He describes listening to music with his product as similar to having on background music.
"SEEDspot is a fantastic opportunity to grow," says Jon Irons , president and founder of SitGREEN, another of the 16 ventures in the first SEEDspot class. Irons' company aims to replace plastic chairs with environmentally friendly chairs made of 100% recyclable materials.
He started his company in 2010, but hopes that his time in the SEEDspot program will help him launch his idea into a more scalable business.
"It feels like I've been sitting at the starting line waiting for someone to pull the trigger - I think SEEDspot is going to be that person."
To help fund the SitGREEN startup, Irons is selling a number of limited edition eco-friendly chairs, which are available for purchase at a special rate at the SitGREEN website.
The 2012 SEED SPOT ventures are:
eMoneyPool (Founders: Francisco Cervera & Luis Cervera) - an online platform for peer-lending groups.
HearBudz (Founder: Scott MacDonald) - a new consumer product that aims to make listening to music via earbuds much safer.
Invictus Nourishment (Founder: D. Glenn Simmons) - a nutritional bite-size snack that is naturally fortified with nourishing food, individually packaged, and specifically designed for children and nursing mothers in the developing world.
My Bookalicious (Founder: Pamela Chambers) - a virtual tutoring state-of-the-art website that facilitates online reading, online interaction between students-teachers, and students' progress evaluation.
Brett Approved (Founder: Brett Heising) - a travel website dedicated to helping physically challenged/disabled travelers make informed travel-related decisions.
Stuttering King Bakery (Founder: Matthew Cottle) - a bakery with a vision to impact the autistic world and serve as an inspiration for other autistic people to be productive, active members of the community.
SaucyPants (Founders: Kristi Murphy &Coreen Murphy) - a website that lends a hand in the fight against childhood obesity one recipe at a time. Paper Clouds Apparel (Founder: Robert Thornton) - a t-shirt company with a conscience. Paper Clouds Apparel takes artwork created by special needs individuals and put it on Earth friendly, super soft, bamboo shirts.
PoppyPocket (Founder Julie Hyzdu) - an pouch to hold infusion pump systems and other medical devises comfortably and securely against the body to avoid equipment being tangled, pulled and damaged.
BooGud Bicycles (Founder: Derrick Loud) - an attachable hand-cycle that turns any wheelchair into a hand driven tricycle, allowing individuals in the developing world the opportunity to travel through rough terrain with ease.
Loyal to the Soil (Founders: Chris Nieto, Jim Malloy & Rachel Malloy) - a logistics, marketing, and product development company that sells and markets locally sourced, designed, and manufactured products.
Gardenfly (Founders: Corey Abramowitz & Rochelle Welnack) - a web and mobile-based application that enables backyard gardeners to buy, sell, or trade their homegrown produce.
11th Monk3y (Founder: Ruben Gonzales) - will help people convert their creative vision into an actual product or art form; bringing a doodle on paper to the computer to physical form.
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Elevated Athletics (Founder: Ty Olatoye) - a company that will build a new model for how young athletes are trained and prepared to lead healthy, active lifestyles.
SitGREEN Eco-Friendly Furniture (Founder: Jon Irons) - provides an answer to the 9 million tons of furniture waste added to our landfills each year.
The Peace Frame (Founder: Caleb Barclay) - a nonprofit dedicated to creating video and photographs that shed human light on misunderstood peoples around the globe.