rhode island business plan competition

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  • The Application process is simple! Just fill out the short form above on your most convenient device. We will then send a confirmation email where you’ll just record a short video explaining your business or product idea. The more details the better.
  • Four lucky contestants will be chosen on  July 31st  and given the opportunity to pitch their business idea at our live event on  September 20, 2023!

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Business competition

It’s not easy being an entrepreneur, notes Elizabeth Carter ’85, adjunct professor of Management at Bryant University and executive director of the Rhode Island Business Competition. It’s a calling that tests you to your utmost, strains your resources — financial, mental, and emotional — and can consume your every waking moment. "It's not just a side hustle or even a nine-to-five, it's something you're thinking about and working on constantly," Carter states.

When she says starting your own business is an uphill battle, Carter, the founder and owner of international executive search firm Carter Consultants and Executive, business, and career coaching and corporate training firm Beth Carter Enterprises, speaks from experience. “It takes blood sweat and tears. I joke that there are some days you think of firing yourself,” she admits.

But sometimes a helping hand can make things a little easier. Since 2001, the Rhode Island Business Competition has awarded cash and prizes valued at $2.9 million to aspiring and fledgling entrepreneurs from across the Ocean State and become an important resource, open to all, for individuals and groups looking to bring new ideas into the world. Along the way, it’s helped to grow a start-up community that fuels economic expansion.

“We’re here to provide a foundation,” says Carter, who has held the executive director title since 2019. “Not only to for people to start their business but also to continue to grow them.”

Supporting innovation  Some of the world’s most successful companies, including Uber and Airbnb, were once start-ups, Carter points out. But, in many ways, those are the exceptions: Many startups fail within the first few years. The Rhode Island Business Competition aims to give new entrepreneurs what they need to be success stories instead of statistics.

rhode island business plan competition

The ethos of the RI Business Competition, says Carter, is that we better ourselves through practice and experience — and they provide opportunities for the founders of new businesses to test the waters. “You can learn so much in a class — all of the different aspects of a business plan or investor deck, or how to understand the numbers, or the fundamentals of marketing. But then we’re here to push you to take it to another level,” she notes.

Their annual competition, held in April and open to those 18 and older, challenges aspiring entrepreneurs, new businesses, and early-stage companies to outline the problem or issue they want to address, share their business ideas, and explain why their proposed offering is better than others, key elements that all entrepreneurs must work through.

The judges then invite semi-finalists to submit complete investor decks  and evaluate the commercial potential of the applicants’ business, the innovative nature and technical feasibility of their idea, and the likelihood that the business described in the pitch deck can achieve a sustainable, competitive advantage.

After several rounds of deliberation, a final winner is chosen. The winner and 2-3 finalists receive a cash award and prizes, including accounting and legal services and co-working space — which will help them grow even further.

A community that welcomes all  Successful startups can have an important ripple effect, says Carter, by creating jobs across the state and helping to grow the economy.

Rhode Island has a rich history of entrepreneurship, Carter notes, and part of the Rhode Island Business Competition’s mission involves bringing the state’s growing entrepreneurship community together. Supported by a range of sponsors that include private businesses, investors, foundations, colleges and universities — including “Pillar” level sponsor Bryant University  — public entities, nonprofit organizations, and former competitors, the competition’s commitment to strengthening Rhode Island is one of its founding principles and can even be seen in the rules of their contests: All applicants must agree to establish substantial operations in Rhode Island to be considered for prizes as a finalist or winner.

In addition to their competitions, the organization also provides educational workshops covering everything from pitch deck development to knowing your customers, mentoring opportunities, networking events, a co-working space, and a variety of other resources.

Carter points to a November 16 pitch competition the organization will be hosting at Venture Café in Providence as an example of how the Rhode Island Business Competition builds community.

The competitors won’t just be making their case to a panel of judges from the Rhode Island business community — they’ll also be sharing them with a general audience of other entrepreneurs and investors, sparking conversations, partnerships, and mutual insights.

There’s a space for entrepreneurship in every market and field of endeavor, Carter notes, and the RI Business Competition welcomes everyone. Past winners include entrepreneurs working in areas ranging from agriculture to biotechnology to construction to the food and drink industry. 2023 winner Charles Johnson, CEO of Nhuad Custom Controllers, focused on developing bespoke videogame controllers for gamers with disabilities. Melissa Bowley, the 2021 winner, created Flourish Care, a platform that puts women in control of their family’s wellness by facilitating spending during pregnancy on evidence-based goods and services.

Entrepreneurship is a difficult business but being part of that community has its rewards, notes Carter, who lights up when she mentions the above companies and founders — and others that the RI Business Competition has helped. “When I see young — and sometimes not so young because we have no age limit — entrepreneurs flourish, it makes me feel good inside,” she admits.

You can find more information about the Rhode Island Business Competition here. The application process for the 2024 competition opens on January 4, 2024, and closes on March 25. 

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Seven Finalists Selected in 2016 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition

RISBJ Staff | Apr 21, 2016

PROVIDENCE, RI – Seven finalists have been chosen in the 2016 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition that will award prizes valued at nearly $225,000 when winners are announced early next month.

The finalists have proposed businesses that address problems in biotech, consumer, health care, information technology, and manufacturing industries.

All finalists will briefly present their business idea at an Awards Ceremony on May 3 at the Chace Center/RISD Museum in Providence, after which the winners will be announced.

Following are the finalists:

Entrepreneur Track Finalists

Finalists in the Entrepreneur Track include the following:

Neurocurious is developing a computer vision algorithm to automate collection of rodent behavior data, aimed at reducing costs related to this significant component of pharmaceutical R&D. Principal applicant: Kurt Spindler, Providence.

Neurotecnix proposed a electroencephalography system for non-invasive recording of brain activity with software, which objectively measures and localizes pain. Principal applicant: Adam Nitenson, Providence.

Response Technologies is developing a manufacturing process that makes fuel tanks explosion resistant while reducing weight and lowering production costs. Principal applicant: Ed Bard, Cumberland.

XactSense has created a drone-based hardware-software system to survey and inspect hard-to-reach infrastructure components at significantly lower cost and time than traditional methods permit. Principal applicant: Andy Trench, Warwick.

Student Track Finalists

Finalists in the Student Track include the following:

Farmer Willie’s is developing a gluten-free, craft beer that serves the niche ginger beer market. Principal applicant: Nicolas Enriquez, Brown University.

PICCPerfect has developed a functional accessory that enables chronically ill patients to manage peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) lines to avoid dislodging lines and preventing irritation or infection. Principal applicant: Emily Levy, Babson College.

Vinespect is developing a handheld optical tester that instantaneously and non-destructively determines sugar, pH, and acidity of on-vine grapes, allowing viticulturists to make more frequent field measurements. Principal applicant: Richard McDonald, Brown University

Originally entered in the Entrepreneur Track, Farmer Willie’s was transferred to the Student Track as the principals are students.

Sponsors of the 2016 Competition

Lead sponsors of the 2016 Competition are Bryant University, Focus Vision Media, Hinckley Allen, KLR, Locke Lord, Pure Haven Essentials, and the Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund.

Also sponsoring this year’s competition are Bank of America, Barlow, Joseph & Holmes, Ltd., Betaspring, Brown University, Center for Women and Enterprise, Cumulus Media/AM 790, Embolden, Envision Technology Advisors, Ever Hope Foundation, FM Global, Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, GrowthLab Financial, Hatch Entrepreneurial Center, Johnson & Wales University, Providence Business News, Roger Williams University, Social Enterprise Greenhouse, Tech Collective, University of Rhode Island College of Business Administration.

Additional sponsors include AAA Southern New England, Bank Rhode Island, Beacon Mutual Insurance Co., Bridge.jobs, Business Development Company, Care New England Health System, Citizens Bank, Delta Dental of Rhode Island, Dimeo Construction Company, Gencorp Insurance Group, Gilbane Building Company, IGT Global Solutions Corporation, The Moore Company, Richard Carriere – Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Navigant Credit Union, Nortek, Santander Bank, ShapeUp, Slater Technology Fund, Teknor Apex, and The Washington Trust Company.

Other sponsors: Bank Newport, Biomedical Structures, Cherrystone Angel Group, Community College of Rhode Island, CompNet Insurance Solutions, CVS Health, Deepwater Wind, Freedom National Bank, Hayes & Sherry Real Estate Services, InsureMyTrip, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, Starkweather & Shepley, StormTree, and Ximedica.

About the Competition

Established in 2000, the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition supports businesses that have the potential to grow and create jobs in Rhode Island, and has been recognized as one of the top 40 business plan competitions in the country. To date, it has awarded more than $1.8 million in prizes, and today more than 30 companies employing about 300 people currently operate. This year marks the thirteenth time the Competition has been held, annually since 2006.

The Competition is free and open to everyone age 18 or over whether or not they already have started a business. Complete information is available at www.ri-bizplan.com.

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Join our expert panel as they discuss various strategies for finding funding for your business or project. From traditional funding sources like loans and venture capital, to crowdfunding and alternative financing options, the panel will explore different paths for securing the capital you need to take your ideas to the next level. Get insights and advice from experienced professionals who have successfully navigated the funding landscape, and leave with actionable steps you can take to finance your next big idea. This in-person event will begin at 5:30pm and is free and open to the public.

Finalists of the 2024 Competition present to a public audience and the winners are announced. This in-person event will begin at 5:30pm and is free and open to the public.

  • 08 Jan 2024 Application process is open for 2024 Competition.
  • 25 Mar 2024 Applications due by 5 pm, Eastern time (U.S.).
  • 02 Apr 2024 Semi-finalists notified.
  • 09 Apr 2024 Complete business pitch decks due from semi-finalists by noon.
  • 15 Apr 2024 Semi-finalists make 5-minute presentation to judges; finalists selected.
  • 22 Apr 2024 Finalists meet with judges.
  • 23 Apr 2024 Awards Ceremony where all finalists present and winner is announced.
  • 11 Jan 2024 Rhode Island Business Competition’s "Business Pitch Deck Development" Workshop is January 18th
  • 20 Nov 2023 Rhode Island Business Competition Announces Winners of the Pitch Contest
  • 10 Nov 2023 Rhode Island Business Competition’s Pitch Contest is November 16th
  • 05 May 2023 Nhuad Custom Controllers is the Winner of the 2023 Rhode Island Business Competition
  • 27 Apr 2023 Rhode Island Business Competition Selects Four Finalists
  • 21 Mar 2023 Rhode Island Business Competition Application Deadline is March 27
  • 22 Feb 2023 Rhode Island Business Competition’s "Find Those Funds" Workshop is March 2nd
  • 10 Jan 2023 Rhode Island Business Competition’s "Business Pitch Deck Development" Workshop is January 19th
  • 15 Nov 2022 Rhode Island Business Competition Announces Winners of the Pitch Contest
  • 26 Oct 2022 Rhode Island Business Competition Pitch Contest is November 10th
  • 05 Oct 2022 Rhode Island Business Competition’s "Perfecting Your Pitch" Workshop is October 13th
  • 13 Sep 2022 Rhode Island Business Competition Kick Off Event
  • 09 May 2022 Digital health startup takes top honor at R.I. Business Competition
  • 06 May 2022 Q2Behave LLC is winner of the 2022 Rhode Island Business Competition
  • 23 Feb 2022 Rhode Island Business Competition’s "Find Those Funds" Workshop is March 3rd
  • 21 Jan 2022 Rhode Island Business Competition’s "Stop Wasting Resources – The Pitfalls to Avoid When Identifying Your Market" Workshop is February 3rd
  • 04 Jan 2022 Rhode Island Business Competition "Business Pitch Deck Development" Workshop is January 13th
  • 12 Nov 2021 Rhode Island Business Competition Announces Winners of the Pitch Contest
  • 01 Nov 2021 Rhode Island Business Competition Pitch Contest is November 11th
  • 10 Sep 2021 Rhode Island Business Competition Kick Off Event
  • 07 May 2021 Winner Named in the 2021 Rhode Island Business Competition
  • 30 Apr 2021 Rhode Island Business Competition Selects Three Finalists
  • 17 Mar 2021 Rhode Island Business Competition Application Deadline is March 29th
  • 22 Feb 2021 Rhode Island Business Competition "Find Those Funds" Workshop is March 4th
  • 26 Jan 2021 Rhode Island Business Competition "Define the Customer" Workshop is February 4th
  • 16 Dec 2020 Rhode Island Business Competition "Business Plan Development" Workshop is January 7th
  • 20 Nov 2020 Ceresonic Takes Top Prize at Rhode Island Business Competition's Elevator Pitch Contest
  • 04 Nov 2020 Rhode Island Business Competition Elevator Pitch Contest is November 19th
  • 07 Oct 2020 Rhode Island Business Competition "Perfect Your Pitch" Workshop is October 15th
  • 16 Sep 2020 Rhode Island Business Competition Kick Off Event
  • 13 May 2020 Winners Named in Rhode Island Business Competition
  • 30 Apr 2020 Rhode Island Business Competition Selects 6 Finalists
  • 16 Apr 2020 Rhode Island Business Competition Selects 11 Semi-Finalists
  • 18 Feb 2020 Rhode Island Business Competition "Find Those Funds" Workshop
  • 30 Jan 2020 Rhode Island Business Competition "Make Your Business Case" Workshop is February 5th
  • 03 Jan 2020 Rhode Island Business Competition "Define Your Business" Workshop is January 8th
  • 06 Dec 2019 Cerebration Takes Top Prize at Rhode Island Business Competition's Elevator Pitch Contest
  • 12 Nov 2019 Rhode Island Business Competition Elevator Pitch Contest is December 4th
  • 26 Sep 2019 Rhode Island Business Competition Kick Off Event
  • 04 Sep 2019 E. Elizabeth Carter Named Executive Director of the Rhode Island Business Competition
  • 07 May 2019 Winners Named in 2019 Rhode Island Business Competition
  • 25 Apr 2019 SIx Finalists Selected in 2019 Rhode Island Business Competition
  • 09 Apr 2019 Rhode Island Business Competition Names 12 Semi-Finalists
  • 01 Mar 2019 Rhode Island Business Competition to Award Prizes Valued at $182,000; Names Judges
  • 24 Jan 2019 RI Business Competition Winners Honored as 'On Fire' Award Winners
  • 02 Jan 2019 Rhode Island Business Competition to Host Free Workshops
  • 06 Dec 2018 Proposal for Electric Vehicle Mobile Charging System Wins Annual Elevator Pitch Contest
  • 11 Jul 2018 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition Renames to Rhode Island Business Competition

Completed developing the nation’s most advanced truly mobile 4WD air pollution monitoring vehicle.

Working on developing the world’s first environmental testing chamber that is able to mimic any ambient air environment and integrates references sensors in order to test small sensor technologies accurately.

Developed the first versatile data acquisition technologies deemed suitable for networking ambient air monitoring applications under $2,000.

Since competing in 2010, Aten Energy Conservation has worked on more than 1,000 Rhode Island homes to make them more energy efficient.

Won U.S. Department of Energy and the US Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR ‘Century Club Award’

Purchased a 7,200-square-foot facility moved operations to Pawtucket.

Co-developed a medical device applicator for dispensing its coating technology to create a liquid wound dressing to combat infection.

On track to write $5 million in premiums in 2017.

Launched a marketing partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Established partnerships with the Retail Association of Massachusetts, Retail Association of New Hampshire, Virginia Chamber Commerce, and National Payroll Services.

Was the focus of a high profile article in The New Yorker that detailed the ins and outs of doing photo shoots for women’s underwear.

Authored an article on forward-looking sonar for Sea Technology.

Received a 2015 Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

One of 40 teams, out of 100,000 applicants worldwide, to compete in the Hult International Business Prize Accelerator program

Signed a partnership/branding deal with Strider Sports International, Inc., the world’s premier manufacturer and marketer of efficient, no-pedal balance bikes for all ages and abilities.

Grindz’s protective pants named “a must have for anyone with active children” by examiner.com.

Grindz products called “cool protective gear for kids” by momtrends.com.

Successfully raised funds via a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year to develop its 2015 fine jewelry collection.

Co-founders Alison Cariati and Haverhill Leach lauded for their business model in ltd blog .

Partnering with a team in Brazil to run a trial of the CRADLE vital signs monitoring device.

Partnering with Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation to introduce the Pratt Pouch to 40,000 HIV-positive mothers in Uganda.

Sending thousands of rapid schistosomiasis test kits to the Philippines to equip a Brown University team.

Partnering with a major humanitarian organization and sending thousands of rapid dengue test kits to their teams for the first time.

Won $250,000 in Babson Breakaway Challenge, to help scale the business in Rhode Island.

Hired 2 full-time, 2 part-time staff, 2 part-time consultants, and 5 interns.

Manufacturing with Pyramid Case Co in Olneyville, and hired McGarry&Sons to help build out a 5-piece capsule collection.

Signed partnership agreements with Psychogenics and another company that is a global leader in animal health care.

Employing 35, and growing rapidly.

Now helping 3,000+ New England kitchens manage their cooking oil.

Producing and selling millions of gallons of biodiesel, derived from used cooking oil, annually.

Developed national partner network

Named a "Rising Star" by SBANE

Raised more than $5 million from investors.

Won the 2018 Electric & Hybrid Marine Industry Innovation of the Year Award for its floating solar power supply dock.

Hired VP of strategy and a controller.

Raised $4.6M. Actively raising more funds.

Launched in CVS and GNC stores nationwide in 2015.

Its four products sell at CVS, GNC, Amazon, and Target.com.

Established a key alliance for the manufacture of Inter-Alpha Inhibitor Protein (IAIP) with a world leading producer of plasma proteins for clinical use.

Completed two commercial development agreements to advance IAIP into clinical use.

Won $2 million Small Business Innovation Research Fast Track grant from the National Institutes of Health in June 2019 to study a new prognosis assessment test.

Won SBIR award of $1M for using its technology to improve the U.S. military’s and federal government’s Willard Boat.

Won DoD Manufacturing Technology Innovation Award.

3 full-time, 2 part-time employees.

Acquired in February 2016 by Virgin Pulse, part of Richard Branson's Virgin Group.

Sold more than 1,000 boat monitoring and tracking systems to date.

Raised $1.5 million in seed funding for development of next-generation products.

Signed deal with Vodafone to be Siren’s global cellular provider.

Launched second generation products in Q2 2017.

Launched its first food accelerator in February 2016.

Introduced its sixth cohort of Impact Accelerator program participants.

Cited as a key element in helping to make Providence a top startup market in the U.S.

Named one of Top 100 Free Finance Apps on both iPhone and Android.

Launched a Spanish translation of its product.

Hired its seventh full-time employee.

Expanded to San Francisco to open first West Coast branch.

Launched new spot acquisition platform Cash positive.

Now selling nationally – California, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan.

Became an SBA-certified, woman-owned small business.

Named a 2018 Tech10 Award winner in the Entrepreneur/Start-up category.

Finalist in the 2018 Get Started Rhode Island pitch competition.

Now serving as Rhode Island's first full-service commercial composting facility.

Won $30,000 in the inaugural 2018 MassChallenge Rhode Island accelerator.

Won $25,000 grand prize in the 2017 Get Started Rhode Island business pitch competition.

Raised $200K to launch pilot programs with major cell tower owners, carriers, and engineers in the U.S.

New prototypes and full working systems in use now.

4 full-time employees.

Collaborating with Pleasant Dreams, a Dutch game designer, that took the company to conferences, including PAX East in Boston, Boston FIG, PAX Prime in Seattle, and IndieCade in Los Angeles.

5 full time employees.

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Elevator Pitch Contest with RI Business Competition

In-person session

November 16, 2023 | 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

rhode island business plan competition

This contest gives participants a chance to make a business pitch, much as if they’d met a funder by chance and wanted to explain their business proposal – with maybe 90 seconds to explain their business. Just as one wouldn’t present a slide deck in an elevator, presenters must speak without PowerPoints and the like. Following the presentations, we’ll take a 10-minute break, during which the judges’ scores will be tabulated. Prizes totaling $1,000 will be awarded to the best presenters!

Pitching Organizations:

  • Artisan Joy – Artisan Joy is an independent magazine and online media outlet that amplifies the work of creative entrepreneurs and chronicles the positive impact of art and craft on the community and economy. Artisan Joy features interviews with diverse entrepreneurs from an array of creative disciplines.
  • AutoHeal – Solving Physician Burnout with Artificial Intelligence AutoHeal addresses the multi-billion-dollar healthcare crisis of physician burnout by saving each doctor over an hour every day on documentation. The company uses human-centered artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically complete the assessment and plan in physician progress notes based on critical data already provided by the doctor in the electronic medical records. Their large language models adapt to each medical professional’s unique style.
  • Build You Marketing – Build You Marketing is a full-service marketing and PR firm that helps small and medium sized companies grow their communities.
  • ConnectedCare – ConnectedCare presents a game-changing healthcare innovation—an app that simplifies medical record management. The company’s cutting-edge Natural Language Process AI organizes data into a seamless, user-friendly format. No more juggling paper documents or struggling with disjointed online portals. With their app, accessing your medical history is effortless and secure. Their goal is to revolutionize healthcare coordination.
  • Credit Builder – Credit Builder is a platform that increases customers’ credit scores.
  • Dopamind’s ParkinPatch – ParkinPatch is a transdermal therapeutic patch for those suffering with Parkinson’s. It is an efficient and safe drug delivery system ensuring time dependent and accurate dosing of Rotigotine. Unlike its competitors, Dopamind’s ParkinPatch is a user-friendly single use weekly drug delivery system that reduces side effects and alleviates the risks associated with other administration methods.
  • E-Maps – E-Maps connects electric car drivers with homeowners and hotels for a luxurious stay while charging their vehicles.
  • Elcove – Elcove is a line of zero-waste home care products on a mission to make a sustainable and toxic-free lifestyle accessible. Traditional home care products contain harmful chemicals and are packaged in single-use plastic. Elcove offers a zero-waste alternative with reusable glass bottles and compostable refills. Simply mix the pouch with water to create a highly effective product of choice. Unlike tablet refills, their solution ensures high performance with more active ingredients, setting them apart in effectiveness.
  • Empanada Assassin – Empanada Assassin is a flavorful journey rooted in Haitian and Martinique heritage. They specialize in crafting over 30 unique empanada flavors that cater to diverse dietary preferences, with a heavy concentration on gluten-free options. Their mission goes beyond food; it’s about creating connections, fostering a sense of belonging, and sharing stories through the universal language of delicious empanadas. With a commitment to Nutrition, Network, and Nostalgia, they aim to not only satisfy appetites but also nourish the soul, bridging cultures and spreading joy with every bite.
  • GivGo – GivGo has elevated gift gifting to make it easy, fun, and relevant. Their secret sauce includes excellent customer experiences, digital personalization and brand loyalty wrapped up in their sophisticated Fintech platform. The company’s “micro-gifting” platform enables friends to give preferred and inexpensive ”micro-gifts” that are immediately redeemable, tradable, re-giftable, and exchangeable. Their revenue model is based on transaction fees generated from their user base sending and exchanging micro-gifts across their GivGo technology.
  • HealthChain – The process for recruiting human subjects is currently incredibly inefficient – relying largely on human triaging of potential participants and antiquated advertising methods like paper fliers. The HealthChain team is building a series of new processes for recruiting patients for the 21st century – ones that have the potential to change the landscape of the multi-trillion drug development industry and empower both patients and researchers.
  • Hocari – Today, laptops come with a hefty price tag, yet most users barely scratch the surface of their capabilities. Hocari is changing the game by introducing a simple, durable laptop designed for cloud computing, complete with a 5G connection and an affordable subscription model. Not only will users enjoy cost savings, but they’ll also contribute to a more sustainable future. Unlike traditional laptops, this innovative solution won’t be found at your local electronics store, and it won’t break the bank.
  • Irada – Self-work is hard, but what if discovering your purpose could be fun? Irada is a self-reflective card game meant to be played with friends and family that helps you discover your Ikigai—a Japanese concept referring to the union of passion, mission, profession, and vocation. Irada is integrated with a mobile application that creates a personalized Ikigai profile and allows users to set ‘Iki-goals’ using behavioral change techniques and social incentives.
  • Just Breathe – Just Breathe is making a device designed to help anyone looking to reduce the symptoms and impacts of anxiety through breath-work. The company’s mission is to make breath-work as easy as breathing by bringing to market a revolutionary relaxation device that rests comfortably in your mouth and provides airflow cues to guide users through calming breathwork exercises. It provides a non-invasive, non-pharmacological solution to anxiety that is easy to use, portable, and accessible.
  • Legacy Archive – Legacy Archive is a first-of-its-kind family oriented, social networking game that is dedicated to preserving generational knowledge. The stories of family heritage are priceless and too many things are left unsaid. This interactive archival game gives users the opportunity to record their story while engaging their family members near and far. Legacy Archive’s AI generative functions will take the user experience to the next level in unprecedented ways.
  • Novel Drug Delivery with Optogenetics – Our brains are protected by the blood brain barrier. This effective filtering system keeps us safe but limits our ability to treat brain disorders because drugs have trouble crossing it. Bendo Therapeutics is seeking to exclusively license an optogenetics method to manipulate the blood brain barrier, so that existing Alzheimer’s drugs are more efficacious. This delivery system converts light into movement of specific cells on demand, opening the barrier to deliver drugs to their target.
  • OsteoNano – OsteoNano’s aim is to revolutionize the orthopedic implant market. Early intervention for implant associated bone degradation is a key to preventing implant failure. OsteoNano provides a nanoparticle implant coating to capture the degradation-associated molecules before they even have the opportunity to interact with bone tissue. The orthopedic implant market is growing by nearly 6.5% every year, which makes now the time, more than ever, to intervene and mitigate this risk.
  • RESO Technologies, Inc. – RESO is an AI-powered case management tool enabling arbitrators and mediators to increase efficiency, decrease data risk, and reduce the time-to-settlement in their practice. The cloud-based solution integrates LLM-based artificial intelligence and cutting-edge, secure workflow management tools to optimize case intake, scheduling, task management, document management, messaging, and financial administration. In an $18B market, RESO’s integrated functionality will increase case capacity and revenue potential per practitioner.
  • RI-OTS (Rhode Island – Oceanographic Technology Services) – In response to the UN’s Decade of Ocean Science initiative, RI-OTS offers hybrid-electric research vessels for both coastal and deep-sea exploration in Rhode Island. Addressing the gap between small boats and large research vessels, the company aims to bolster the Blue Economy by providing flexible, advanced marine charter services to meet the rising demands of academic and independent research.
  • SynaptoSolutions – SynaptoSolutions aims to revolutionize the treatment of Schizophrenia and Cognitive Dysfunction with a groundbreaking new drug that enhances neural connectivity and cognitive function. This drug could potentially help 20 million patients in the U.S. alone. SynaptoSolutions aspires to extend their impact to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, with the goal of significantly improving the quality of life for individuals struggling with these devastating diseases.
  • The LapSnap – includesign is a product design firm creating products for individuals with disabilities. Their flagship product, the LapSnap, is a patent-pending, collapsible carryall designed with and for wheelchair users. The LapSnap sits directly on a wheelchair user’s lap and snaps around the waist, leaving their hands free to maneuver their chair. The LapSnap helps wheelchair users do more tasks independently, such as grocery shopping, going to school or work, and household chores.
  • Theragripper – Theragripper is an innovative approach to treat Crohn’s disease-related gastrointestinal inflammation. Utilizing patented drug delivery mechanisms, Theragripper specializes in precisely targeting inflamed tissue for prolonged therapeutic relief, surpassing current standards of care. The company has harnessed research from Johns Hopkins University to create this pioneering solution. This fusion of academic excellence and innovation establishes a compelling investment opportunity, grounded in expertise and forward-thinking science.
  • Zmanti – Nearly 50% of women experience long-term incontinence, but just half of that group purchases incontinence products today. The reason is clear: current products are horrible. They are either bulky and uncomfortable adult diapers, or not absorbent enough. And that’s where Zmanti comes in: they are on a mission to enable every woman to live without limits via their stylish and absorbent underwear and incontinence pads, which combine the best of both worlds from current options.

About RI Business Competition

The Rhode Island Business Competition aims to create and foster growth companies in Rhode Island that will increase local employment. It’s all about helping emerging entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.

Established in 2000, the Rhode Island Business Competition is supported by a broad range of sponsors that include private businesses, investors, foundations, colleges and universities, public entities, nonprofit organizations, and former competitors. Today, it is the leading community-supported business plan competition in the Northeast.

rhode island business plan competition

3.45-4.20PM Discussion 4.20-5.00PM Q&A

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rhode island business plan competition

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rhode island business plan competition

‘Overall cost of doing business is outrageous’: R.I. hospitality leader talks Washington Bridge fiasco, shoddy tourism budget, and more

Heather singleton is the interim ceo of the rhode island hospitality association, which advocates for restaurants and the lodging industry around the ocean state..

Easy Entertaining executive chef Ashley Vanessa, right, and prep cook Keya Perry, discuss logistics for an upcoming order. The Providence catering company lost over $29,000 when 11 holiday parties were canceled in December because of the Washington Bridge closure.

Restaurant owners and hoteliers have had to face a tough few years during and after the COVID pandemic that include a persistent staffing crisis, rising costs, a disastrous supply chain problem, changing tastes , and tricky red tape that can make owning and operating a business even harder.

Earlier this year, Rhode Island Hospitality Association president and CEO Dale Venturini announced she would retire after nearly four decades leading the trade group. Heather Singleton, the association’s chief operating officer, stepped up to serve as the association’s interim CEO in the meantime, and spoke about the challenges the restaurant and lodging industries face in 2024, legislative priorities, and her own future.

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Q. At no surprise, the Washington Bridge has to be rebuilt. We know this is already decimating businesses . What is the association focused on?

Singleton: For a while, everyone was taking this “wait to see” what the results are approach. Now, we know it’s going to take a couple of years to get back to normal. We’ve started listening sessions with business owners to hear directly from them on what kind of help they’re really going to need over the next few years, and we plan on working with elected officials to help support those businesses. But immediately, RIHA is relaunching our Employee Relief Fund , which is for employees that are currently facing an unexpected financial hardship. This fund initially came about because of COVID, but we still had some money left in that fund so we’re going to be reopening that.

Q. How much could an employee receive from this fund?

A. It’s up to $1,000. The United Way of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Foundation had helped us get that fund set up during the pandemic, and we received a lot of donations to continue feeding it. During COVID, these funds are what helped some employees who were laid off. When folks returned to work, we decided to turn it into a relief fund that has been used for emergencies.

Q. What kinds of emergencies?

A. An employee from Connecticut was living and working in Rhode Island when her parents contracted COVID pretty badly and it was not a good situation. She just needed gas money in order to get back and forth from Rhode Island to Connecticut to help her parents. The relief fund was able to help with that.

Q. Other than the bridge, what are the most pressing concerns your members face in 2024 in Rhode Island?

A. The overall cost of doing business is outrageous. Everything from business insurance, utilities, goods, transportation fees, labor, rent, and other expenses are all much more expensive.. If sales are up, the money is just going out the back door. If sales aren’t up, businesses are having a hard time keeping up.

Q. Most states spend an average of $20 million on tourism marketing. Ours is only $5 million, but much of our economy depends on the hospitality industry. What’s with the divide?

A. We work with all of the tourism regions in Rhode Island, and consider them the “front of the house” while the association is the “back of the house.” We’re focused on a lot of the advocacy, lobbying efforts, and workforce issues; the tourism regions are in charge of promoting the destination and bringing folks in. I know that $5 million is not a lot. We’re trying to bring in leisure travelers, business travelers, and people coming in to visit friends and family. That’s three different sectors of tourism. We need a lot more than $5 million.

Heather Singleton is the interim CEO and president of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association.

Q. What is the association planning to advocate in front of lawmakers this year?

A. Everything is on the table. We’re tracking close to 150 pieces of legislation right now that have been introduced in this session. [For example, there are two pieces of legislation that have been introduced in the General Assembly that could force restaurants to stop charging service fees .]

Q. Happy Hour was canceled in Rhode Island in 1985. Will it ever return? Should it?

A. We haven’t taken a position on this. We surveyed our membership and the results showed business owners were split right down the middle. Some were very supportive of it; others felt it wouldn’t help them.

Q. Are you looking to serve as RIHA’s permanent CEO?

A. Yes, I’ve applied. I’ve been here for 26 years, and with Dale as my mentor and coach over the years, it’s always been my goal to lead the association.

Q. If you were selected, what are your yearlong goals for RIHA?

A. First thing is to deal with the crisis at hand: the Washington Bridge crisis. I’m only a few weeks into the job as interim CEO and the bridge is definitely going to be a major focus for us.

Outside of the bridge, I’d like to revaluate our current benefits and services that we’re offering members to make sure they are still valuable. I want to look out for new partnerships and expand membership. So many new places are coming up into the industry, and I need to meet and hear from them directly.

The Boston Globe’s weekly Ocean State Innovators column features a Q&A with Rhode Island innovators who are starting new businesses and nonprofits, conducting groundbreaking research, and reshaping the state’s economy. Send tips and suggestions to reporter Alexa Gagosz at [email protected] .

Alexa Gagosz can be reached at [email protected] . Follow her @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz .

IMAGES

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COMMENTS

  1. RI Business Competition

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  2. Rhode Island Business Plan Competition

    The Rhode Island Business Plan Competition aims to create and foster growth companies in Rhode Island that will increase local employment. Established in 2000, the Rhode Island Business Plan ...

  3. Rhode Island Business Competition

    The Rhode Island Business Competition aims to help emerging entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. A winner and two finalists will receive free legal and accounting services! All participants receive ...

  4. Rhode Island Business Competition: Kick Off

    Established in 2000, the Rhode Island Business Competition is supported by a broad range of sponsors that include private businesses, investors, foundations, colleges and universities, public entities, nonprofit organizations, and former competitors. Today, it is the leading community-supported business plan competition in the Northeast.

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  8. RI Business Competition Showcase

    Established in 2000, the Rhode Island Business Competition is supported by a broad range of sponsors that include private businesses, investors, foundations, colleges and universities, public entities, nonprofit organizations, and former competitors. Today, it is the leading community-supported business plan competition in the Northeast. The ...

  9. Rhode Island Business Plan Competition

    Rhode Island Business Plan Competition. PROVIDENCE, RI - The Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, New England's leading community supported business plan competition, today announced that its 2015 competition will launch next month and culminate next May with the awarding of prizes expected to exceed $200,000 in value.

  10. RI Business Plan Competition Announces 2019 Finalists

    The Rhode Island Business Competition announced that six finalists have been chosen in the 2019 Competition. ... RI Business Plan Competition Announces 2019 Finalists. Friday, April 26, 2019.

  11. Rhode Island Business Plan Competition semi-finalists named

    PROVIDENCE - Fourteen semi-finalists will compete for $265,000 in prizes in the 2018 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition in May, the competition organization announced Tuesday. The RIBPC named six Entrepreneur Track semi-finalists and eight Student Track semi-finalists. This year, all principal applicants of the eight semi-finalists in the student track were Brown University students. The

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    Established in 2000, the Rhode Island Business Competition is supported by a broad range of sponsors that include private businesses, investors, foundations, colleges and universities, public entities, nonprofit organizations, and former competitors. Today, it is the leading community-supported business plan competition in the Northeast.

  13. NEW: RI Business Plan Competition Announces 7 Finalists

    Seven established and aspiring entrepreneurs have been chosen as finalists in the 2012 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition—which will award more than $200,000 in prizes, including $40,000 in ...

  14. Seven Finalists Selected in 2016 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition

    Established in 2000, the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition supports businesses that have the potential to grow and create jobs in Rhode Island, and has been recognized as one of the top 40 business plan competitions in the country. To date, it has awarded more than $1.8 million in prizes, and today more than 30 companies employing about ...

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    The 2023 Rhode Island Business Competition. Please note: 1. You may complete your application in one session or over time, saving your work as you go along. It is suggested that you keep your answers in a separate Word document for future reference. 2. A number of fields require text and indicate the maximum number of words you may enter.

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    The Rhode Island Business Plan Competition announced that it will award prizes valued at $265,0000 to the winners of this year's competition. ... RI Business Plan Competition to Award $265K in ...

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    Finalists of the 2024 Competition present to a public audience and the winners are announced. This in-person event will begin at 5:30pm and is free and open to the public. The Rhode Island Business Competition promotes entrepreneurship and start-up and early stage companies. It is sponsored by a unique consortium of private,

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  21. Overall cost of doing business in Rhode Island is 'outrageous'

    Heather Singleton is the interim CEO of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association, which advocates for restaurants and the lodging industry around the Ocean State.