Entrepreneurs Vie For College Start-Up Funds

Jennifer Green, right, and service dog Echo join Christina Finello as they pitch the judges

BLUE BELL PA – Jennifer Green doubled over in her chair, breathing rapidly with her hand to her face. Echo, a 16-month-old chocolate Labrador retriever, recognized the signs of a panic attack and sprang into action, nuzzling his owner’s hand and climbing onto her lap to apply pressure to her chest to help calm her down.

Green, however, wasn’t really having a panic attack, She was demonstrating the training Echo received to assist military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The demonstration was part of her pitch to receive up to $20,000 in funding for her non-profit business, Alpha Bravo Canine.

Alpha Bravo Canine is one of six start-up businesses that made funding pitches Tuesday (Feb. 28, 2017) to a panel of judges at the central campus of Montgomery County Community College for the Karen A. Stout Start-Up Accelerator Fund.

Now in its second year and named for the college’s former president, the fund provides fledging businesses with much-needed capital. It’s intended to help take them to the next level in their business development. The fund is operated by the college Foundation, and its Division of Business and Entrepreneurial Initiatives.

Josh Hoffman, co-founder of Game Plan, a mobile app that helps people make personalized group decisions on where to dine, pitched his business to the panel and said he was very pleased with the feedback and advice he received. “I thought it went pretty well,” Hoffman said. “When you get me up there, that’s what gives me energy.”

“Having their feedback is crucial for us growing and understanding what we need to work on,” Green added. “We appreciate the opportunity to do this, no matter the outcome.”

That outcome will be determined in the next few weeks. Judges will review each presentation and proposal, and decide about funding. Then the funded businesses will continue to work with the college Center for Entrepreneurial Studies to set key milestones and deliverables in their start-ups, and to monitor their progress and outcomes.

Other business pitching judges included Cryten Inc., which provides information technology staffing and recruitment services to organizations; NeuroFlow, a software solution that promises to change the way we see brain health; Reentry USA, a reentry database for ex-offenders, which promises to help reduce recidivism and improve public safety; and iCareQuality.us, which develops scalable, open-source technology to advance the science of the health care industry.

Photo from Montgomery County Community College

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