Three local innovators each received $5,000 seed money on Thursday night after pitching their ideas to a group of judges and attendees at the first-ever GVL Starts Demo Day at ONE City Plaza in downtown Greenville.
What is GVL Starts?
GVL Starts is a new program that is the collaborative effort of Furman University’s Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, the City of Greenville, Venture South, South Carolina Department of Commerce, Greenville Local Development Corp. and South Carolina Research Authority.
During the Oct. 7 event, GVL Starts participants pitched their ideas and showcased products to those in attendance. Six participants competed for three startup grants of $5,000 across three categories — technology, product/service and crowd favorite.
The winners were:
Tech category — Eric Cooperman/Bottle Titan, a beverage monitoring product meant to bring solutions to the multi-billion-dollar problem of beer and wine spoilage.
Product/Service category — Dionne Sandiford/Comfort Cover, a proprietary, easy-to-clean, anti-microbial blanket with built-in pillow designed for daycares, disaster relief kits and on-the-go childcare.
Crowd favorite — Jennifer Spears/The African Violet, offering affordable solutions for self-care and stress relief to include herbal teas and bath products and massage therapy.
Anthony Herrera, Furman’s chief innovation officer, welcomed all to the event, saying that GVL Starts represents the best Greenville has to offer not only from an innovation standpoint, but from a collaboration and community support standpoint.
“Greenville is a great place to visit, a great place to live and great place to launch a business,” he said, adding that a successful start-up needs at least three things to grow: training, the right kind of capital and connections.
About GVL Starts:
- First class size: 24
- Program length: 8 weeks
- Next class starts: Feb. 1.
To apply, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GVLSTARTS