Winners Named in 2016 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition

Seven Teams Share Prizes Valued at more than $225,000

PROVIDENCE – (May 4, 2016) – A two-man team that is developing a manufacturing process to make explosion resistant fuel tanks was named the top winner in this year’s competition, sharing prizes valued at $226,300 with six other winners and finalists, including a Babson College student who was a semi-finalist last year and returned to win this year's Student Track.

Response Technologies, led by Ed Bard of Cumberland and Dave Pettey of Westport, was named the Entrepreneur Track winner today in the 2016 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition.

The company received $67,100 in prizes – $15,000 in cash and $32,100 in professional and consulting services as the Entrepreneur Track winner, plus a $20,000 bonus cash award.

Bard said, "Rhode Island is well positioned for Response Technologies. We are collaborating with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, nearby Natick Soldier Center in Massachusetts, and Sikorsky in Connecticut. Our advanced processes will require talent from Rhode Island's textile and chemistry base, and our 3-D textile process will benefit from RISD design graduates."

Winner of the Student Track was PICCPerfect, led by Emily Levy, of Newport, a Babson College senior studying technology, entrepreneurship, and design, who has developed a functional accessory that enables chronically ill patients to manage peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) lines to avoid dislodging lines and preventing irritation or infection. PICCPerfect was awarded $15,000 in cash and $31,650 in professional and consulting services. The company is already manufacturing in Rhode Island the first of a projected line of products.

Neurocurious, led by Kurt Spindler of Providence, which is developing a computer vision algorithm to automate collection of rodent behavior data, aimed at reducing costs related to this significant component of pharmaceutical R&D, won the MedTech Award – $10,000 in cash and $49,150 in professional and consulting services.

Winners were announced at a public event yesterday at the Chace Center at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum in Providence.

“The judges had a special challenge this year selecting the winners, as all the finalists have exceptional promise. They're addressing problems that will enable them to build scalable businesses that serve large markets well beyond the state, and we look forward to helping them grow,” said Competition Co-chair Peggy Farrell, partner in the law of firm of Hinckley Allen.

Co-chair Anthony Mangiarelli, partner with the Providence-based accounting firm of KLR, said, “The Rhode Island Business Plan Competition has become a stand-out among community-supported business plan competitions because it receives support from a broad range of organizations that want to help emerging local companies. And this year we had a record-breaking 61 sponsors.”

More than 35 past Rhode Island Business Plan Competition participants are currently operating, having created more than 300 jobs and buying services from Rhode Island suppliers.

In addition to the winners, finalists in the Entrepreneur Track were:

  • Neurotecnix proposed a electroencephalography system for non-invasive recording of brain activity with software, which objectively measures and localizes pain. Principal applicant: Adam Nitenson, Providence.
  • XactSense has created a drone-based hardware-software system to survey and inspect hard-to-reach infrastructure components at significantly lower cost and time than traditional methods permit. Principal applicant: Andy Trench, Warwick.

Finalists in the Student Track were:

  • Farmer Willie's is developing a gluten-free, craft beer that serves the niche ginger beer market. Principal applicant: Nicolas Enriquez, Brown University.
  • Vinespect is developing a handheld optical tester that instantaneously and non-destructively determines sugar, pH, and acidity of on-vine grapes, allowing viticulturists to make more frequent field measurements. Principal applicant: Richard McDonald, Brown University
Finalists in both tracks received $5,000 in cash, along with services valued at $8,350.

A total of 79 applications were received this year. To be eligible to win prizes, applicants agreed to establish or continue business operations in Rhode Island.

Sponsors of the 2016 Competition

Lead sponsors of the 2016 Competition are Bryant University, Focus Vision Media, Hinckley Allen, KLR, Locke Lord, Pure Haven Essentials, and the Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund.

Also sponsoring this year's competition are Bank of America, Barlow, Joseph & Holmes, Ltd., Betaspring, Brown University, Center for Women and Enterprise, Cumulus Media/AM 790, Embolden, Envision Technology Advisors, Ever Hope Foundation, FM Global, Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, GrowthLab Financial, Hatch Entrepreneurial Center, Johnson & Wales University, Providence Business News, Roger Williams University, Social Enterprise Greenhouse, Tech Collective, University of Rhode Island College of Business Administration.

Additional sponsors include AAA Southern New England, Bank Rhode Island, Beacon Mutual Insurance Co.,, Business Development Company, Care New England Health System, Citizens Bank, Delta Dental of Rhode Island, Dimeo Construction Company, Gencorp Insurance Group, Gilbane Building Company, IGT Global Solutions Corporation, The Moore Company, Richard Carriere – Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Navigant Credit Union, Nortek, Santander Bank, ShapeUp, Slater Technology Fund, Teknor Apex, and The Washington Trust Company.

Other sponsors: Bank Newport, Biomedical Structures, Cherrystone Angel Group, Community College of Rhode Island, CompNet Insurance Solutions, CVS Health, Deepwater Wind, Freedom National Bank, Hayes & Sherry Real Estate Services, InsureMyTrip, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, Starkweather & Shepley, StormTree, and Ximedica.

About the Competition

Established in 2000, the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition supports businesses that have the potential to grow and create jobs in Rhode Island, and has been recognized as one of the top 40 business plan competitions in the country. To date, it has awarded more than $2 million in prizes, and today more than 35 companies employing about 300 people currently operate. This year marks the thirteenth time the Competition has been held, annually since 2006.

The Competition is free and open to everyone age 18 or over whether or not they already have started a business. Complete information is available at