The Cairns Foundation and Volusia County‒UCF Business Incubator Present Fourth Annual Innovation Challenge, The Final Pitch April 5

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.  – A $10,000 first prize and a $5,000 second prize will be awarded to the winners of The Cairns Foundation Innovation Challenge on April 5.

For the fourth consecutive year the Foundation, established by entrepreneur and businessman Jim Cairns, joins the Volusia County–University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program to spotlight commercially viable technologies generated by undergraduate and graduate students from local area colleges and universities.

The final run of the challenge – which begins at 12:30 p.m. at the Advanced Technology Center, 1770 Technology Blvd. Daytona Beach, 32117 – is when the finest student minds from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona State College and Stetson University make their final pitches for the prizes.

The top prize includes $10,000 from the Foundation plus one year’s enrollment in the Volusia County-UCF Business Incubation Program. The second-place winner will receive $5,000 from the Foundation and one year’s pre-incubation enrollment support at the Volusia County-UCF Business Incubator.

According to Connie Bernal, associate director and site manager for the Incubator, one goal of the challenge is to promote the commercialization of innovations spawned by the local students; another goal is to stimulate start-up businesses in the community.

The prize money and incubator programs will allow the winning student teams to advance and protect their technologies while preparing to launch new companies. Bernal said the Innovation Challenge also offers the students a chance to partner with local investors.

“During the final pitch April 5, the finalists will present their innovative ideas to a group of local investors and businessmen providing them with the possibility to advance their technology’s commercialization through early-stage funding,” she said.

Bernal said for more than a decade, Cairns has shared his time and money with students and innovators and revealed the practices he used to launch and mature multi-million dollar companies founded on his inventions.

For more information about the annual challenge, please visit 

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For more information about this release, please contact:

James L. “Jim” Cairns, Executive Director, The Cairns Foundation Inc

Connie Bernal, Associate Director/Site Manager, Volusia County –University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program, 386-872-3101,

Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications, 407-644-4142 or 407-461-3781,

About The Cairns Foundation

Established by Dr. Jim Cairns in 2003, the Cairns Foundation strives to identify and give life-changing boosts to bright, creative young people who otherwise might never attain their full potential.  To fulfill its mission, the Foundation provides support to outstanding students through mentoring and funding to help the young inventors realize the technical and commercial successes of their creations.

About the UCF Business Incubation Program

The University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program is a community resource that provides early-stage companies with the tools, training and infrastructure to become financially stable, high growth / impact enterprises.   Since 1999, this award-winning program has helped hundreds of local startup companies reach their potential faster by providing vital business development resources.

With seven facilities throughout the region, the UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership between the University of Central Florida, the Corridor, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties, and the cities of Apopka, Kissimmee, Orlando and Winter Springs.  Participating companies sustain more than 3,600 local jobs and have had a total impact of $1.51 billion on regional sales and $2.48 billion on regional economic output.  During the last fiscal year, the program has returned $7.95 for every $1.00 invested in the program.