Mobile Sign Language Wins EIC Pitch Competion

Mobile Sign Language Systems CEO, Jason Gilbert took home the prize at the Eastside Innovation Campus Business Pitch Competition on June 4th.  Mobile Sign Language Systems has developed smartphone software that translates spoken English into a video of sign language in real time. The software is designed to help deaf people, who often struggle to communicate with their counterparts in the hearing world, most of whom do not know sign language.  Jason Gilbert mentioned during his 3-minute pitch that he was motivated to create the software by his friends who are deaf and realized the real need.  As the winner, Mobile Sign Language Systems will receive an engagement of up to $50,000 in business acceleration services, a one-year incubator lease at SPARK East and a package of additional start-up services including a one-year chamber of commerce membership.  Mobile Sign Language Systems will be moving into SPARK East within the next few weeks.

Business Pitch Competition Finalists Announced

Ann Arbor SPARK announced the five finalists in the Eastside Innovation Campus Business Pitch Competition.  The five finalists are listed below.

•   Eco-Fueling will present its proven solution to co-fuel diesel engines with renewable ethanol, targeted at the 6 million diesel trucks, none of which currently use a renewable fuel, on the road today.

•   Aeradigm will present its in-rack air condition for data centers.  Over 10,000 US data centers are in danger of generating more heat than can be dissipated; Aeradigm will cool servers efficiently and reduce overall energy load by harvesting waste heat for power.

•   Mobile Sign Language Systems LLC will present its smartphone software that translates spoken English into a video of sign language in real time.  The software is designed to help deaf people, who often struggle to communicate with their counterparts in the hearing world, most of whom do not know sign language.

•   Urobiologics will present its UroGender Test Kit (UGT).  Economic and social conditions are compelling married couples to have a small family, preferably of two children, one of each gender. UGT will help couples to plan and have gender specific conception the natural way.

•   Own will present its combined Web and hardware Point of Sale (POS) system for coffeehouses. Own replaces cash registers or Software POS systems at the point of transaction.

The five pitch competition finalists will have three minutes to deliver a business pitch to the panel of judges.  The winning pitch will be selected based on identification and articulation of market need, how the product meets the need and business model. The winner will receive a one year incubator lease at SPARK East and up to $50,000 in business acceleration services.

Join us for a business pitch competition on June 4

Five innovation-based entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses for a chance to win incubator space & business acceleration services on June 4 at SPARK East.  The business pitch competition, hosted in conjunction with EIC, the Eastside Innovation Campus, will run from 3:30-6:30 p.m.

The competition winner, as judged by a panel of noted funding and business experts, will win prizes to support their venture, including a one year incubator lease at SPARK East and up to $50,000 in business acceleration services.

To qualify for the pitch competition, businesses must be registered as a Michigan business.  The winner of the competition is required to establish the SPARK East business incubator as its primary business location.

Applications to compete in the EIC pitch competition are due by close of business on May 14, 2010.  The five finalists who will compete at the pitch competition event will be notified by e-mail or phone by May 21, 2010.  Click here for the online application.  Click here to register to attend (it’s free!).

Crain’s identifies SPARK as “scratching the entrepreneurial itch”

From Crain’s cover’s Washtenaw/Livingston

…Goldschmidt is one of the nearly 70 new startups that have begun working with Ann Arbor Spark this year, a roughly 25 percent increase from the same period in 2008, according to Skip Simms, director of business acceleration services at Spark.

Much of the spike is driven by an increased awareness of the resources available to Ann Arbor’s entrepreneurial community and an increase in those resources, Simms said.

For example, Spark has about $1.5 million in micro-loan funds available for startups that the agency lacked last year. The funds pay for things like company prototype completion, pre-revenue stage ramp-up costs, market research, marketing efforts and other early stage needs.

Spark’s new cash is available through three separate funds. The state of Michigan allocated about $1 million to Spark from its 21st Century Jobs Fund for the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund.

Another $275,000 is available from the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone through the Local Development Finance Authority and Spark, as well as about $225,000 for startups in Eastern Washtenaw County through the Eastern Washtenaw County micro-loan fund, according to Simms. …

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