Kishwaukee College, the Rochelle Retail Advisory Board and the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Waubonsee Community College sponsored the Innovation Challenge Oct. 17 in the KC Conference Center. The “business idea” competition sought innovative ideas for launching a new business or new ideas for an existing business. Ten businesses and entrepreneurs competed for cash prizes.
Competitors delivered three-minute pitches to a panel of expert judges. Judges scored each pitch according to innovation and other categories on a mathematical rubric. Competitors included Abu Bakarr Bah with More With Us Inc.; Jacob Becker with Leverage; Gustavo Casa, Adam Coonich and Anguel Tochkov with Your Spot Awaits; Robert Glaser with Virtual Time Capsule; Joseph Kucic with KUCIC MC; Mary Ley with Aireloom Music Inc.; Erin Nolan with INKubator Creative Arts Center; David Pack with Box Blox; Candace Rivera with Hazel’s Café and David Valdiva with Valdiva’s Custom Iron Works.
Pack, the first-place winner, received $1,000 for Box Blox (of Insightful Solutions Group LLC). The second-place prize of $750 went to Northern Illinois University students Casa, Coonich and Tochkov for Your Spot Awaits. Third place went to Ley with Aireloom Music Inc. in Mount Morris, who received $500. All other competitors received $100.
Serving as judges were Jeff Fiegenschuh, city manager of Rochelle; Derek Hiland, community development director of DeKalb County; Manish Patel, owner of Liquor ‘n’ Wine in Rochelle; and Kate Shaw-Dickey, assistant vice president of human resources at Holcomb Bank.
“Events such as these support the entrepreneurial spirit that fuels so many great innovations and businesses,” LaCretia Konan, director of business and training partnerships at Kish College, said in a news release. “I would like to thank all the competitors for participating and wish them all the best.”
The sponsors would like to thank Liquor ‘n’ Wine, Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corp., and the city of Rochelle for contributing the cash prizes; Jock Sommese, adviser for the SBDC, for preparing competitors and tallying scores; Peggy Friday, industrial development manager for the city of Rochelle, for assistance with the Innovation Challenge; and Samantha Burkus, owner of Sunshine Bakery in Rochelle, for providing desserts.
Plans are underway for the 2020 Innovation Challenge.
For information, email Konan, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 815-825-9791.