2010 Cincinnati Innovates offers more $$, entrepreneur training, categories

Cincinnati Innovates 2010 is offering Greater Cincinnati entrepreneurs, creatives and inventors more chances at start-up prize money this year, with more than $80,000 in awards.

Cincinnati Innovates evolved from InOneWeekend, which challenged - and equipped - aspiring entrepreneurs to create a viable start-up business in three days.

The second annual competition is open to anyone now or originally from a 15-county area of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana. It has a broad reach and can include innovative products, devices, business processes and more.  The top prize is $25,000 sponsored by CincyTech.

This year's competition ups the stakes and opportunities for innovators. There are several new prize categories including a $5,000 web development award sponsored by CoStrategix, a $10,000 award in branding and design services from LPK, and a $10,000 commercialization award to a Kentucky-based company sponsored by The Northern Kentucky eZone, Tri-Ed, Vision 2015, and  Biologic.

"There is so much happening in Northern Kentucky," said Cincinnati Innovates founder and organizer Elizabeth Edwards. "But last year we only had 16 entries from Northern Kentucky. This year with the Northern Kentucky Prize we are hoping for a couple hundred."

To enter the contest or get more info, go to the contest's website. There you'll enter a short description of your idea and upload pictures, video, or sketches to help explain and showcase it. The earlier you enter the better, because you can enter more than one idea and update and improve on entered ideas after submission, Edwards said.

Cincinnati Innovates more than doubled its sponsorships over last year, up to 23. They include representatives from the region's legal, economic development, health, investor and media communities (including Soapbox).

Need a little help in fleshing out or presenting your idea? This year Cincinnati Innovates is offering more group workshops throughout the competition, based on feedback from last year's event, Edwards said.

Among scheduled workshops are "How to Finance a Startup," and "Cincinnati Innovates Video Workshop."

"We'll have 14 cameras there for people to help them craft an elevator pitch, and we'll have some angel investors there to help," Edwards said of the video workshop. "Many of the proposals that won last year had good video explanations. Some were 30 seconds; some were four minutes. They weren't professionally done, just well put together."

There are no age restrictions to entering. The contest is open now through Sept. 1. Winners of a total of 10 prizes - including a community choice award picked by online voters - will be announced September 22 at the Cincinnati National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Entries will be judged by investors and other industry experts from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: Elizabeth Edwards, founder Cincinnati Innovates

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