Three finalists for the $5,000 annual Ignite! Ideas Contest award have been named and organizer EngenuitySC said the winner will again be selected by audience participation.
The Ignite! live celebration will be held Nov. 20 at The Zone at Williams-Brice Stadium.
EngenuitySC, a public-private economic development organization affiliated with the University of South Carolina, puts on the entrepreneurship challenge each year, with the help of local sponsors, to help a worthy economic idea get off the ground.
This year’s finalists and their projects include a mobile farmers market by Shennice Cleckley, an educational social network produced by Brandon Gantt and high-tech LED party sunglasses by Caleb Pinckney.
My LearningBlock is a combination educational and social networking site that allows parents to learn how to teach their children, said Gantt, a third grade teacher at A.C. Moore Elementary School in Columbia.
“As a teacher, I also tutor kids,” said Gantt, “and I noticed that the biggest problem a lot of the parents were having was not that they couldn’t help their kids, but they didn’t know the proper way and the proper strategies. The $5,000 award would help me develop more content.”
Succotash Mobile food trucks bring fresh foods into local food deserts and inner-city neighborhoods straight from local farms, said Cleckley of Columbia.
“We want to launch next year and (the $5,000) would help with the infrastructure, such as a complete market analysis, partnerships with the farms, and putting some aside to put down on the location that would house the food when it’s not on truck,” Cleckley said.
Pinckney’s LED shades – sunglasses that light up in order to help people see how to dance at parties – are a launching point for future, more complex electronic design and manufacturing products, according to statements released by EngenuitySC. Sales revenue from the “easy-to-manufacture” shades would enable Infinite Reach LLC to purchase electronic manufacturing equipment to make the shades and other future products in the local area, the organization said.
This year’s judging panel includes leaders from local government, the private sector and seasoned entrepreneurs, as well as venture capitalists, according to George Hutton, EngenuitySC executive director.
Tickets are available at www.engenuitysc.com/ ignite.