Sarah Boyer and her team at Antria have been named the grand prize winner of $50,000 in the Ben Franklin’s Big Idea Contest.
More than 100 people tuned in via Zoom on Friday to see the six finalists make their pitch to a panel of independent judges.
This contest, which targeted Indiana, Jefferson, Clearfield and Cambria counties, attracted dozens of emerging innovators, tech startups and small manufacturers pitching an innovation in an attempt to win up to $50,000.
Antria, based along Indian Springs Road in White Township, has developed patented stem cell therapies that target wound care applications.
As voted by the audience members, the People’s Choice Award winner was Nicole Sawyers with DuBois-based Neonatal Loving Kare. The company makes an FDA-approved positioning device for premature babies called Nurture Rest.
The other four finalists were:
• Gregory Kenning, with White Township-based Nanomagnetic Electronics, who has developed solid-state, heat-integrating sensors that monitor perishable foods, pharmaceuticals and machinery lubricants.
• Tanvi Bharathan, with Indiana-based Staff Atom, who is developing a software application that consolidates and simplifies essential tasks for staffing agencies.
• Michael Reed, with Micro Gainz, Clearfield, who has developed micro weight plates for barbell lifting.
• Anthony Caiola, with Back 40 Funding, who is developing a platform that connects real estate developers with local investors using online crowdfunding.
“Now more than ever it is so encouraging to see that entrepreneurship is alive and well, and each of these finalists did an amazing job. If this contest is any indication, the future of small business and entrepreneurship in this region is looking bright,” Mark Hilliard, president of the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce, said in a news release.
“The judges must have had a very difficult job in choosing a winner, as all those who participated in this contest did an excellent job. Congratulations to Sarah Boyer and her team and many thanks to all who dialed in to support these entrepreneurs,” Stephen Brawley, president and CEO of Ben Franklin, said in the release.