Alumni win competition
Two Towson graduates won first place in this year’s TowsonGlobal Business Incubator Competition Wednesday, receiving $4,000, a 90-day resident membership to TowsonGlobal and executive coaching from CEOIQ, an online training organization for businesspeople, that is valued at $70,000.
The competition is for early-stage companies in the Baltimore area to help develop their businesses and succeed in the economy.
There were about 25 summaries accepted in the beginning of the competition.
Brothers Daniel and Steven Cole developed an online tool rental website called ToolSpinner, on which people can post tools that they own and rent tools instead of buying them.
Their website went live last week.
When Daniel Cole moved from the city to a more suburban area, he said he realized how many tools it takes to repair a home. That’s when he thought of the idea of renting tools from others.
The brothers said the competition was useful and said the money and experience they have will help them with the growth of their business.
“It’s always good when someone challenges you to think hard about your business,” Daniel Cole said. “I expected to come out with a stronger business and I did.”
Their plan now is to grow their actual platform and get people to start putting tools on the website and getting people to sign up and rent those tools, Daniel Cole said.
ToolSpinner was the only Towson-run team.
The other four were John Hopkins University teams. ToolSpinner was also the only non-medical based initiative.
The winners were selected by judges from various businesses and were based on criteria such as growth, impact, brevity, clarity and market opportunity. Each finalist presented 20 minute presentations to the judges before the decision was made.
“Realistically our decision was based on which one would make the most profit in the end,” judge and TowsonGlobal marketing assistant Lissell Paredes said. “It’s exciting to be able to see these new ideas, especially people who come up with completely new concepts.”
This is the second year for TowsonGlobal Business Incubator, and it was a success, according to Director Clay Hickson.
The goal of the competition is to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.
“We facilitated the development of these ideas,” he said. “We especially want to encourage innovation with students and faculty here.”
As second year for the competition, the workshops and bootcamp that the teams had participated in to develop their plans were not a part of the process last year.
“All the comments I’m hearing are people are blown away by the caliber of the presentations,” he said.
Competitor Brian Rayburn of the Neostent team, a John Hopkins team that wanted to produce liver stents for patients receiving dialysis treatment, said the feedback from the experience was helpful, he thought it was especially good to talk to the investing side of things and hear that perspective.
“We’ve been going to competitions the past few months and this was certainly one of the most professional ones,” he said.