Published: Feb 12, 2013 04:25 PM
Modified: Feb 12, 2013 04:23 PM
MORRISVILLE - The winners of the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce entrepreneurship contest range from an online business-finder service to an after-school program that teaches children how to make mobile applications.
Five businesses were selected out of 13 applicants to participate in the HOTTies, or Heart of the Triangle, program. The winners were announced at the chambers annual meeting on Friday.
Starting March 1, the winners will get office space at Perimeter Park, Internet access and memberships to the chamber and the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, all for free. Theyll also have access to local mentors and business classes.
HOTTies is part of the chambers nonprofit arm, the Innovation Foundation. All of the services that will be provided to the entrepreneurs were donated.
Its really exciting, said Samra Busic-Janisch of Cary, founder of Excel Heritage Group, which formed in October 2011 to create fun and educational mobile applications for children.
An example: Words on Wheels, which helps kids who cannot speak make sentences using pictures.
Busic-Janisch also wants to help children build their own applications. Excel Heritage Group would be a track-out camp or after-school program for children ages 8 to 14.
Parents are always complaining about the amount of times that kids are spending on electronic devices, Busic-Janisch said. We want to teach them how to program simple games, teamwork and job skills. We plan to have them attack and find solutions to world problems, like the freshwater supply or saving trees.
Over the next five months, Busic-Janisch said she will focus on taking advantage of the HOTTies programs mentoring services and classes to improve her business plan.
For Steve Doyle, founder of Finder 411, the entrepreneurship program offers a perk he couldnt ignore: free office space.
Doyle is self-funding his dream of creating an online social community for local independent businesses. On his shoestring budget, he hasnt been able to afford to rent offices.
His five-member team, who live in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, work from home and communicate through conference calls.
Office space in centrally located Morrisville will make for an easy commute, Doyle said.
Finder 411, as Doyle describes it, is a website that promotes small businesses. The site will offer free and tiered membership packages to businesses while allowing customers to search for free.
Unlike Angies List or Yelp, Finder 411 isnt a review site. Member businesses invite customers to write testimonials.
Its not a rating site. Its a popularity site, Doyle said. If you see a business with one testimonial versus another with 10 testimonials, what does that tell you?
Many of the contest applicants leaned toward technology or the medical industry, said chamber Executive Director Carlotta Ungaro.
We hope these businesses will be ready to go to the next phase and grow, and we would love for them to choose Morrisville, Ungaro said.