This semester, half of the 16 competitors in the fifth installment of Salisbury University’s Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation Shore Hatchery business funding competition walked away with their share of some $110,000 in prize money. Coordinators attributed the impressive cohort to an “entrepreneurship ecosystem” that includes resources both on and off campus.
The big winner was Operational Precision Systems, LLC, a water quality monitoring and management service, which earned $40,000 following a $5,000 win in the competition last spring.
Badjo-T Industries - $20,000. Inspired by video games and anime, this company designs and manufactures custom, high-tech suits for live-action role playing.
5POP Sports, LLC - $15,000. The winner of the highest prize at this year’s Student Entrepreneurship Competitions, the $10,000 Richard A. Bernstein Achievement Award for Excellence, also impressed Shore Hatchery judges with plans to manufacture a digital football training device that already has garnered interest from collegiate coaches.
Sleeper Creeper, Inc. - $15,000. This company plans to manufacture collapsible mechanic’s “creepers” for professional drivers who occasionally need to perform maintenance or repairs beneath a vehicle while on the road.
AM Cooling - $5,000. Using gel technology, this company plans to produce medical “sleeves” that would provide therapeutic temperature control to stimulate healing for injuries such as sprains and muscle strains.
Joost Wafel Co. - $5,000. This Delaware-based manufacturer of stroopwafels (European cookies) earned its second infusion of Shore Hatchery funding, following a successful initial pitch in 2014.
T&J Tech - $5,000. The principals of this business are developing a 3-D-printed, energy-efficient battery.
The Frozen Farmer, LLC - $5,000. This Delaware-based retailer of cold and frozen treats, established earlier this year, plans to expand with a new location in Bridgeville.
Administered through SU’s Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, the goal of the Ratcliffe Shore Hatchery program is to fund entrepreneurs in the mid-Atlantic and have new businesses opening within six months, with the potential of employing five or more within a year. In addition to funding, winners and participants also receive mentoring support from the program’s board.