Daytona Beach, Fla. (November 4, 2021) – Over the past eight years, there has been no shortage of college students in Volusia County with entrepreneurial ideas for the Cairns Foundation Innovation Challenge.
The 2021 challenge is the eighth edition of the partnership between the Volusia County Business Incubator powered by UCF Business Incubation Program and the Cairns Foundation. Six student companies were invited to present.
Chipper Stempkowki, a senior at Stetson University, took first place for his business idea, YourCETracker, a technology solution to track an organization’s certifications and accreditations. He won $10,000 and one year as a client of the Incubation program.
“This experience was incredible for me,” Stempkowki, who is majoring in Management, says. “It gave me the opportunity to really refine this idea I’ve had, and then validate it with a panel of experts who have a lifetime of entrepreneurial experience. I’m so excited to be able to bring my product to market.”
The Cairns Foundation Innovation Challenge launched in 2014 and has awarded more than $100,000 to aspiring entrepreneurs at area colleges. The funding for the challenge is part of the Cairns Foundation, which was formed in 2003 by Daytona Beach entrepreneur James Cairns to identify creative students with entrepreneurial potential, and to mentor and financially help them achieve technical and commercial success.
“Once again, the program showed the future of our business community is very bright as the innovation presented to our judges was outstanding,” Cairns says. “As always, it was very difficult to choose a winner for this competition.”
Stetson University’s Kendall Buck placed second in the competition, winning $5,000 and one-year of pre-incubation programming at the incubator. Buck presented Herbtastic, a kitchen device to take the leaves off of herbs in one motion, instead of picking the leaves off individually.
Sanket Patel and Maximus Langis, students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, took third place for Handyber, an app to connect customers with handyman service providers. They received six months of pre-incubation services at the incubator.
“I’m looking forward to working with all of these students to mold their ideas into businesses to help grow our economy,” says Connie Garzon, Site Manager, Volusia County Business Incubator powered by the UCF Business Incubation Program. “More importantly, the Cairns Foundation is a great example of how our business leaders can help inspire, nurture and incubate tomorrow’s great companies.”
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For more information, contact Connie Garzon Associate Director and Site Manager, at 386-872-3100 or Connie.firstname.lastname@example.org or Alan Byrd, Alan Byrd & Associates, at 407-415-8470 or Alan@ByrdConnections.com
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 provided vital business development resources resulting in over 300 local startup companies reaching their potential faster and graduating into the community where they continue to grow and positively impact the local economy.
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 Kissimmee, Orlando and Winter Springs. For the 2017/2018 fiscal years, the activities of these participating firms have helped to sustain more than 6,725 local jobs and have had a cumulative impact of over $725 million on regional GDP and over $1.3 billion on regional sales. During the same period, the program has returned more than $12.00 in state and local taxes for every $1.00 invested in the program. In addition, for every $1.00 of public investment the firms also produced $118 of additional regional GDP and $226 of regional sales. For more information, visit www.incubator.ucf.edu
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. Cairns said the challenge is designed to “spotlight commercially-viable technologies generated by the finest student minds at colleges and universities in our area.” 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. For more information, please visit CainsFoundation.com.