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ERIE, PA– After reviewing dozens of applications, preliminary judging is complete, and six finalists have been identified in Ben Franklin’s BIG IDEA Business Plan Contest. This year’s BIG IDEA Contest, which focused on the counties located in Northwest Pennsylvania, generated a huge response from the entrepreneurial community, and choosing just six finalists from all the great applications was very difficult.  The finalists are:

  • Direct Allergy – Robert Schultz/CEO – The Company provides a turnkey service to primary-care doctors for testing, diagnosis, and treatment of patients, especially those in underserved rural areas, who suffer from allergies.
  • Adaptmicrosys LLC – Kyu Jung, Ph.D./President – A leading-edge, adaptive semiconductor company that provides higher energy savings, more efficiency, and greatly increased performance in a variety of smart-connected devices.*
  • reCAP Mason Jars – Karen Rzepecki/Founder – reCAP, the manufacturer and Amazon top seller of high-quality plastic caps for Mason jars, will develop an app that caters to those interested in using mason jars for creative uses. reCAP was the 2011 winner of the InnovationErieDesign Competition.*
  • LLC – Stephen Kovacs/CEO – Developed a unique model that provides the expertise of three medical specialists to be offered as an online medical service.
  • Advanced Power Control Solutions LLC – Christopher Abeyta/CEO – Developed an innovative coal/natural gas hybrid burner technology that allows compliance with EPA requirements and increases power output from existing coal fired power generation facilities prevalent in Pennsylvania.
  • CNG One Source, Inc. – Karen Teslovich/President – Manufactures natural gas engines for diesel trucks and installs conversions for gas powered fleet vehicles.

*Denotes company is an Erie Technology Incubator client.

On May 30, 2013, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Erie Technology Incubator (ETI) located on the campus of Gannon University, the finalists will participate in a day of entrepreneurial training. The morning session, which will be led and facilitated by Jeff Parnell, the Interim Executive Director at ETI, will cover Advanced Business Plan Development, and the afternoon’s topic will focus on making successful “Pitch Presentations” offered by Jill Edwards, the Executive Director of Ben Franklin’s Venture Investment Training Forum.

As Jill commented, “Pitching a business idea to potential investors differs sharply from making a sales presentation.  Rather than hearing all about the technology, most investors want to know how the startup company will make money, the problem their product/service solves, and the size of the potential market.”

In addition to the training, the prize package for the winner is very significant.  The grand prize is $35,000, and includes six months of residence at the Erie Technology Incubator at Gannon University (, one year free tuition for classes/seminars offered by the eMarketing Learning Center (, and a free, five-hour consult on intellectual property (IP) from Attorney Jonathan D’Silva with the Erie Law Firm, MacDonald, Illig, Jones, & Britton (

All the contest participants have the opportunity to engage with the NW PA Incubator Association as well as the Erie Technology Incubator.  In addition, any applicant who is interested in discussing a traditional Ben Franklin investment should contact the Erie Office at 814-898-6650.