Four Finalists Selected In 2018 ‘Next Great Idea’ Competition

OSWEGO, NY – CHARTA, Hope Springs, Oz Angling, and Wired Telecom have been selected as the four finalists for the 2018 Next Great Idea Oswego County Business Plan Competition- it was announced by Austin Wheelock, Chair of the NGI steering committee.
On September 14, each finalist will give a 20-minute presentation on their business plan in-person to the panel of judges.
On September 18, a luncheon and awards ceremony announcing the winner will be held at The Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center.
The master of ceremonies will be Dan Cummings, News Anchor for WSYR News Channel 9.
“September 18 will mark the culmination of the 2018 Next Great Idea Oswego County Business Plan Competition,” Wheelock said. “This year’s Finalists have worked extremely hard to position themselves to win $50,000 towards developing their business ventures here in Oswego County.”
Finalist Charta, a digital and social media platform led by SUNY Oswego Graduate student Fabio Machado, will empower the millennial generation to both travel and explore local culture utilizing their mobile application technology for a more fulfilling experience and to save money. The business team will utilize resources at SUNY Oswego to develop the technology as well as serve as a test market for the business. Charta would use the NGI funds to offer paid internships for the initial technology talent at the college, start a sales team, and develop marketing materials.
Hope Springs, a health and wellness beverage company led by Matthew Cullipher, will bottle emoliente, a popular South American beverage with huge potential for growth in the US market. The company is an expansion of a successful café in Central New York and will bring their own twist on this beverage to a wider audience through state-wide and eventual national distribution. Hope Springs plans to reinvest their profits into local and international community outreach programs. If selected, Hope Springs would use the NGI funds to lease production space, acquire bottling equipment, and purchase raw materials.
Finalist Oz Angling, led by Jake Metcalf and Kevin Spillett, is a recreational fishing business that will sell bait, tackle, apparel and fishing accessories, and value added fishing services to the greater Oswego market. The business will develop high quality online content on social media and other digital platforms to differentiate itself from competitors and to market Oswego as a high quality fishing destination increasing local tourism. The NGI funding will help Oz Angling reach their operational goals faster and also help them launch their own fishing tackle product and apparel line which has the potential to create additional local manufacturing jobs.
Wired, the business team led by Ryan Baldwin and Ed Alberts, provides specialized IT and communication services focused towards medium and large commercial chain and franchise businesses. The business grew out of necessity as Ed’s own businesses could not find reliable IT solutions so they developed an in-house solution which proved so successful they believed it could be scaled into a business of its own. Wired would use the $50,000 NGI funding to purchase special equipment and hire more employees to allow them to expand the business and serve the entire East Coast.
This year’s Next Great Idea competition received a record number of submissions with 33 innovative ideas ranging from advanced manufacturing to agri-business to internet based platforms and tourism. These ideas were all from local and regional entrepreneurs who would like to develop or expand their business in Oswego County.
Some of the anticipated outcomes from this year’s and future NGI competitions include, but are not limited to: developing a culture of innovation and entrepreneurism in Oswego county; improving the quality of life for the community by bringing innovative and needed businesses and services to Oswego County; fighting the ‘brain drain’ by encouraging the best and brightest to stay here; creating new job opportunities and markets; and expanding the tax base.
The $50,000 prize was raised in partnership with private banks, local companies, and public and private institutions that see the importance in making an investment in Oswego County’s economic future. Financial and in-kind sponsors include:  Richard S. Shineman Foundation, Operation Oswego County, PathFinder Bank, New York Business Development Corp.,  SUNY Oswego, Small Business Development Center at SUNY Oswego, C&S Companies, National Grid, County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency, Centerstate CEO, Greater Oswego Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Chirello Advertising, and Oswego County Business Magazine.
The Next Great Idea web site, www.oswegocounty.org/NGI, includes an overview of the event, a competition timeline, guidelines, details on the $50,000 prize, sponsors, partners and contact information.  In addition, the $50,000 can potentially be leveraged to borrow up to $500,000 in partnership with local banks, the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency, the cities of Oswego and Fulton community development offices, the U.S. Small Business Administration, New York Business Development Corporation and other economic development agencies.
For more information about the Next Great Idea Oswego County Business Plan Competition, visit the web site at www.oswegocounty.org/NGI, or by email at [email protected]