Finalists announced in BIG IDEA Contest

BIG Idea Artwork
Credit: Penn State

Dozens of people located in North Central Pennsylvania recently applied to Ben Franklin’s $50,000 BIG IDEA Contest, held in conjunction with the North Central PA LaunchBox Powered by Penn State DuBois. This week the team had the difficult job of identifying just a few finalists from all of the great applications received from emerging tech startups and small manufacturers. The eight companies moving forward in the contest will make a pitch presentation to a panel of local judges on Thursday, Nov. 21 – location to be determined.

Below are the eight companies moving on in the contest: 

  • Jeff Billett with Billett Electric (Punxsutawney) is developing an equipotential grounding system for mobile operation to protect personnel and equipment from static and stray electricity.
  • Keith Billotte with Doing Time LLC (Clearfield) has developed an innovation in the process of distilling bourbon.
  • Peter Schramm with Lattus Inc. (Brookville) developed a platform that facilitates personal conversations about specific professional and personal topics to share insights, perspectives, and experiences. 
  • Joe Lanich with Laughing Owl Press (Kane) is developing software that brings digital convenience to high-end letterpress printed products.
  • Daniel Meier with Lightdrop Harvest LLC (St. Marys) utilizes neural networks (artificial intelligence) in vision systems to inspect parts produced by the powdered metal industry.
  • Royce Novosel-Johnson with NoJo Forest Creations (Kane) is establishing alternative and creative uses for wood and wood-related products within the PA Wilds and Allegheny National Forest. 
  • Harb Nayar with TAT Technologies (St. Marys) is developing a process that reduces thermal process cost and energy consumed.
  • David Conklin with Wilds Sonshine Factory (Kane) is distilling a new spirit derived from the sunflower plant grown solely in the PA Wilds Region! 

In addition to the money, the winner will receive:

  • Access to seminars offered by Ben Franklin’s eMarketing Learning Center and the Clarion University Small Business Development Center
  • A free consult on applying for federal R&D grant money from the Innovation Partnership
  • Executive business and technology growth services assistance offered by the Northwest Industrial Resource Center