The Tech-Prize competition will conclude on Sept. 17 at Gateway Technical College. Up to $80,000 in prizes, including cash and scholarships, will be distributed. Awards will follow at Party on the Pavement, with a ceremony at Monument Square stage at 7 p.m.
From 9 a.m. until noon, 10 contestants will present their product idea to a panel of judges and investors. The public is encouraged to attend and see innovators pitching their ideas for $9,000 in cash prizes and potential support from investors, according to the event coordinator, Dave Aumuller.
We had 18 applicants and were able to narrow that down to a top 10, and we feel this is a very strong group of competitors, many of which are ready to compete for funding to start their businesses. They come from a wide range of backgrounds, and wide range of business models, but we’re excited to see how the Tech Prize competition continues to mature and that entrepreneurs find the competition as a great way to get in front of people to discuss their business ideas.Dave Aumuller
Tech-Prize co-chair Jeff Daniel said the idea competition is geared toward people whose idea is not ready to bring to inventors and is divided into Open/College and High/Middle School divisions. A total of $8,500 in cash prizes are offered in the Open/College division and $1,750 in the High/Middle School division.
The judges will select winners, however, the public will be able to vote for their favorite idea using their phone and that contestant will win $500.
The Pitch competition is just one of four competitions taking place this week.
At this time, judging is underway in APP competitions and E-sports contests. An Idea competition has already concluded and will be on display at Uncorkt, 240 Main St., in Downtown Racine. The APP competition offers scholarships to Gateway Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
The public is invited to vote for their favorite idea by visiting the storefront. Owner and Tech-Prize co-chair Tony Bigonia said he was offering a buy one get one free special on a glass of wine to encourage voting. Stop by through Saturday, Sept. 17.
At the event, Tech-Prize will also introduce a new partnership with the Founder Institute Accelerator.
“This is a very exciting development for our region,” Daniel said. “The Founder Institute is the world’s largest accelerator. They have over 6,000 ideas they have mentored in 200 cities and have raised 2 billion in funding to support launching those businesses.”
Growth since 2021
In 2021, The Pitch competition featured two product presentations that attracted investment capital and have each generated over $1 million in product sales over the past year. However, Aumuller says that this year, the quality of the competition is even higher.
“This year is our second year of the pitch competition and we feel that we’ve built upon the strong foundation from last year,” Aumuller said.
Last year a Racine Real School student won the top $1,000 high school prize. Read about Malea Pina’s success on our website and learn more about her app.
Moving to the future
Tech-Prize is part of Visioning A Greater Racine’s efforts to improve the Greater Racine community. Racine was once known as “Invention City” and Tech-Prize is working to stimulate entrepreneurship in Racine schools and bring inventors and their ideas to the area in hopes that new businesses will locate here, Daniel said.
Throughout the year, Tech-Prize sponsors seminars for business development and mentorship for winners in the Tech-Prize competitions.
Information on all the competitions and Tech-Prize is on their website.