June 23, 2014
Seven Semi-Finalists Selected for 2014 Oswego County 'Next Great Idea' Business Plan Competition
The 2014 Oswego County Next Great Idea Business Plan Competition has announced the seven semi-finalists that are competing for a $25,000 prize towards the start of their business in Oswego County. In this, its third event, the Next Great Idea committee received 19 business concept proposals. The seven that were chosen by a panel of ten judges cover a wide range of industries from manufacturing, childhood recreation, internet-based platforms, tourism, and agri-business.
The Next Great Idea semi-finalists include: American Machine Design and Fabrication, LLC. Owner Jacob Cipriano proposes to serve the manufacturing sector in Oswego County and beyond by engineering and manufacturing automation solutions for production environments to make our manufacturing companies more efficient and competitive. Some of the products would include conveyor systems, robotics, pneumatics, and servomechanisms.
Outdoor Educational Expeditions and its creator, Jennifer Mays, will provide customized outdoor and educational expeditions throughout Oswego County leveraging its abundant natural and historical resources. This business will promote Oswego County as a unique tourism destination and provide healthy lifestyle activities.
Through her unique experiences and findings as a cancer survivor, Judy Campany has proposed Campany Oncology Products to develop oncology specific products for cancer patients and survivors. Her mission is for her business to be known as the premiere patient recovery company. This company would leverage existing local manufacturing companies to produce the products and establish a unique niche business in Oswego County.
Identifying a need for a quality children's play outlet in the Oswego area was the business opportunity catalyst for Karen Crisafulli who has proposed an event and play location called Party and Play Caf? that would focus on children's entertainment but would also be adult friendly. This business would help encourage early age socialization in an indoor environment, with a healthy food and drink menu for children and adults.
Based on his experience in the music industry, Matthew Vacanti has identified an opportunity to develop a colorful and protective covering for string instruments like violins, violas, and cellos. This business would be called the Violin Wrap. These products would be manufactured here in Oswego County and marketed worldwide to schools, professional musicians, and the general public.
Ontario Soap Company and owner, Heather Shambo will create luxury soaps and body care products using locally sourced ingredients from Oswego County. High quality local products used in the soap production such as chocolate, coffee beans, wine, etc. will be a focus of the business's marketing efforts, which will help to position the business and to create positive branding for Oswego County's agricultural products and local businesses.
Bookbrawl.com and the business team led by Austin Rudd is an online platform headquartered in Oswego County that allows students to create their own textbook marketplaces on campuses to reduce the cost of books and supplies. Rudd has developed a unique marketing and referral system that sets them apart from their competitors. The company has also made a pledge to invest back into the communities in which it does business. A portion of each sale would go to local non-profits engaged with childhood literacy and learning.
"Each of the semi-finalist businesses selected to move forward are looking to capitalize on a realistic opportunity they have identified in the market which will benefit Oswego County through the jobs they will create and the advantages they will provide the existing companies and residents in Oswego County," stated NGI Chairperson, Austin Wheelock.
The next step for each of the semi-finalists will be to develop a full business plan by September 5th, 2014 that will include a detailed narrative on the business, financial statements including sources and uses of funds and projections, and key supporting information such as market research, resumes, and other pertinent data.
Other than awarding one winning business $25,000, some of the anticipated outcomes from the Next Great Idea program include but are not limited to: developing a culture of innovation and entrepreneurism in Oswego county; improving the quality of life for the community by bringing innovative and needed businesses and services to Oswego County; fighting the 'brain drain' by encouraging the best and brightest to stay local; creating new job opportunities and markets; and expanding the tax base.
The $25,000 award was raised in partnership with private institutions, private companies and public organizations that see the importance in making a proactive investment in Oswego County's economic future. NGI sponsors include: Shineman Foundation, Key Bank, PathFinder Bank, Entergy Nuclear, National Association of Development Companies, Operation Oswego County, SUNY Oswego, C&S Companies, Chirello Advertising, Oswego County Business Magazine, and Mitchell's Speedway Press.
The NGI web site at www.oswegocounty.org/NGI includes an overview of the event, a competition timeline, guidelines, and details on the $25,000 prize, sponsors, partners and contact information. In addition, the $25,000 can potentially be leveraged to borrow up to $250,000 in partnership with local banks, the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency, the cities of Oswego and Fulton community development offices, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and other economic development agencies.