Seven Finalists Selected in 2017 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition


PROVIDENCE – (April 27, 2017) – The Rhode Island Business Plan Competition today announced that seven finalists have been chosen in the 2017 Competition, which will award prizes valued at $271,000 when winners are announced next month.

The finalists have proposed businesses that address opportunities in food distribution, the craft beer market, health care information, indoor farming, infection control, and technology-assisted learning.

All finalists will briefly present their business idea on May 16 at an Awards Ceremony sponsored by the Everhope Foundation, to be held The WaterFire Arts Center in Providence, after which the winners will be announced.


Following are the finalists:

  • 5 Commas provides a turnkey control system and personalized analytics that enable indoor farmers to successfully analyze and automatically obtain relevant crop data. Principal applicant: Andrew Oberlander, Brown University.
  • BI Medical is developing a single use, simple to use device for removing bacterial contamination of prostheses. Principal applicant: James Wagner, Coventry.
  • Care Thread is a cloud-based, clinically-integrated mobile and web application that delivers patient-specific information in real time, to enable accurate communication across clinical care teams. Principal applicant: Nick Adams, Providence.
  • Crave Food Services Corporation is a food system technology and consulting company that delivers healthy, fresh, sustainably-produced food to schools, hospitals, and restaurants through WhatsGood, its online ordering system. Principal applicant: Matthew Tortora, North Kingstown.
  • Echowear is developing a cloud-based system that enables health care providers to remotely monitor patients. Principal applicant: Nicholas Constant, University of Rhode Island.
  • Farmer Willie's is developing and marketing a ginger beer that has less sugar and fewer calories than others already commercially available. Principal applicant: Max Easton, Pawtucket.
  • Tvar EdTech is a phonics teaching device that lets students practice the most time-consuming step of phonics instruction independently, and also teaches braille. Principal applicant: Alex Tavares, East Greenwich.
Sponsors of the 2017 Competition

Sixty-three organizations—including private businesses, professional firms, banks, investors, colleges and universities, nonprofit and service organizations, and public agencies, as well as six former competitors—are sponsoring the 2017 Competition. 

Lead sponsors of the 2017 Competition are Bryant University, Everhope Foundation, Hinckley Allen, Integrated Media Group, KLR, Locke Lord, Materials Science Associates (former competitor), MedMates, and Sprout.


Also sponsoring the 2017 Competition are Bank of America, Barlow, Josephs & Holmes, Ltd., Betaspring, Brown University Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, Center for Women and Enterprise, Cumulus Media, Envision Technology Advisors, FM Global, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at CCRI, Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, GrowthLab Financial, Hatch Entrepreneurial Center, Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund, Roger Williams University, Social Enterprise Greenhouse (former competitor), Tech Collective, URI College of Business Administration, and Verizon.

Sponsors also include AAA Northeast, Bank Rhode Island, The Beacon Mutual Insurance Company, Business Development Company, Care New England Health System, Citizens Bank, Collette Travel Service, Delta Dental of Rhode Island, Dimeo Construction Company, The Hilb Group of New England, The Idea Turbine, IGT Global Solutions Corporation, The Moore Company, Navigant Credit Union, Richard Carriere, Slater Technology Fund, Teknor Apex, and The Washington Trust Company.

Additional sponsors include BankNewport, Cherrystone Angel Group, Classic Hassocks, CompNet Insurance Solutions (former competitor), CVS Health, Davol, Deepwater Wind, EpiVax, Freedom National Bank, Gilbane Building Company, Hayes & Sherry Real Estate Services, Johnson & Wales University, Nabsys, Newport Biodiesel (former competitor), Rajiv Kumar (former competitor), Starkweather & Shepley, and StormTree (former competitor).

About the Competition

Established in 2000, the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition has been recognized as one of the top 40 business plan competitions in the country. To date, it has awarded prizes valued at more than $2 million to developing companies across many industries. See full details at www.ri-bizplan.com