Semifinalists, judges named for UNC entrepreneur challenge

GREELEY — Seventeen Colorado-based semifinalists have been announced for the seventh annual Monfort College of Business Entrepreneurial Challenge at the University of Northern Colorado — along with the six business leaders who will judge them.

The event, sponsored by BizWest, KUSA-TV Channel 9 and Colorado Lending Source, is an opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to get exposure and compete for $50,000 in prize money to help bring their business ideas to fruition. The semifinalists, which represent health care, education, sports and other industries, will present their business concepts on Jan. 21 at the UNC University Center in Greeley.

“The semifinalists this year are a diverse group of enterprises,” said event director David Thomas, an assistant professor of management at UNC. “Many of the products and services they represent are ones we haven’t seen yet in the many years we’ve been doing this.”

Following the semifinals, five finalists will be chosen to compete for a total of $50,000 in prize money and the opportunity to present their business plans to a panel of judges on March 29 in a “Shark Tank” format at the KUSA-TV studios in Denver. The finals will be televised at a later date by 9News’ sister station, KTVD Channel 20.

The 17 semifinalists are:

Aerosol Devices Inc.: The Fort Collins-based company manufactures an advanced scientific instrument for the collection of airborne particles for physical, chemical and biological analysis.

Blindside: A helmet cap designed in Greeley that allows youth football players to practice “heads up tackling” by installing muscle memory techniques through vision-obstruction training.

EMRG A sales-process implementation designed in Denver to be repeatable and scalable to build the long-term sales pipeline to improve a company’s financial health and create sustainability for a business.

The Food Corridor: A Fort Collins-based online marketplace for food businesses to find commercial kitchen space, enabling efficiency, growth and innovation in the food system.

IgnoreU: An application designed in Fort Collins that helps users of social media integrate their feeds and filter topics, subjects and people of their choosing.

Insecticycle LLC: A process designed in Fort Collins that helps divert food-grade waste from landfills, recapturing the nutritional value of this waste stream and supplying it at a profit to poultry farms and fisheries.

mcSquares: “Whiteboards” created in Broomfield and designed to democratize learning spaces in order to free up idea sharing.

Mimi: A Denver-based web platform that provides families an online directory of assisted-living homes and the ability to book tours of real-time availabilities.

NerdNest: A Denver-based social-media site for fans to create and share their favorite, nerd-based fandom content including photos, gifs, videos and written content.

Nursly: A Fort Collins-based education platform within hospitals with which patients can interact to learn about their condition and treatment.

Official Fitness: A health and fitness center serving the Windsor area that offers CrossFit, Group X and a traditional gym experience.

Planting Profits: A Masonville-based online app that uses a user interface to configure a model of the farming operation.

Reading Remedies: Vision tests designed in Loveland that help parents assist their students with reading.

Rebalance Factor: Boulder-based rebalancing software for financial advisers and firms. The software works with portfolio-management software provider Morningstar Office.

Turbo Tenant: Free landlord software for owners and property managers to market rental properties, screen tenants through credit reports and criminal background checks, collect online rental applications and online rent payments. The Fort Collins-based service is provided free to landlords.

Vacuum Sciences: A Loveland-based manufacturer of scientific instruments, specifically systems for decontaminating low-level impurities in equipment that use vacuum chambers.

Vita Inclanata Technologies: Creators of a piece of rescue helicopter technology that will address the rescue hoisting system and its chaotic pendulum swing. The Denver-based company is developing a detachable rail system that would be able to travel the length of the rescue helicopter with a self-contained hoist.

Judges for the semifinals will be Bruce Biggi, chief marketing officer for the Northern Colorado Economic Alliance; Charisse Bowen, campus director of Galvanize Fort Collins; Karol Jones, chief financial officer of Colorado Lending Source; Milan Larson, associate professor of management at Monfort College of Business; Mike O’Donnell, executive director of Colorado Lending Source; and Richard Pickett, executive director of UNC BizHub.

More information about the competition is available online.