'Big Idea' Winners Honored at WDCE Ceremony
New technology for law enforcement and a tracking device for lost seniors and children have been honored in this year's "Big Idea" business-plan competition.
The Wright Gear Corp. won a $7,500 Manufacturing and Technology Award funded through a Pennsylvania College of Technology Keystone Innovation Grant. Williamsport Mayor Mary B. Wolf presented the check to Trent Wright during a ceremony at the college's Workforce Development & Continuing Education offices along Reach Road.
"Working with the individuals at the Williamsport/Lycoming County KIZ and Lock Haven Small Business Development Center has been a tremendous help," Wright said. I look forward to taking this product to market."
A $25,000 "Big Idea Award" was presented to Elias Janetis, of Integrity Tracking. The check was presented by John Johnston, of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners, co-sponsor of the award with Lock Haven University's SBDC and the state Department of Community and Economic Development.
Wright Gear is working to make handcuffs safer for front-line police officers the first substantive change in handcuffs since the late 1800s and hopes to have a prototype soon. Janetis is developing a global-positioning device to help track Alzheimer's patients and autistic children who wander from home, which he plans to market in the coming months; he said his company will add at least 10 employees to the local workforce.
State Rep. Steven W. Cappelli was the keynote speaker for the event, applauding both winners and pledging Harrisburg's continuing assistance to "the innovative men and women who have great ideas" but who need help navigating the obstacles (incorporation, capitalization, workers' and unemployment compensation, etc.) that accompany the fruition of a dream.
The Williamsport/Lycoming KIZ program is part of a state initiative encouraging creativity, entrepreneurism and innovation thinking. It relies upon partner resources and accesses Penn College and other area institutions to provide services to its clients.