Oswego County’s 2010 ‘Next Great Idea’ Call For Entries; 2008 Winner Cites Award As Critical To Success

“The Next Great Idea: 2010 Oswego County Business Plan Competition” (NGI) is calling for entries for this year’s competition which culminates with  $25,000 awarded to the winner at a November luncheon, said Austin Wheelock, economic development specialist for Operation Oswego County (OOC).

Ocean Blue Technology, LLC, (OBT), winner of the first NGI competition in 2008 has been able to continue to grow as a result of the prize. “Winning this competition has helped us move forward by leaps and bounds,” said Paul Grimshaw, Ocean Blue’s co-owner.

Ocean Blue Technoloties, LLC, (OBT), the 2008 winner of The Next Great Idea Oswego County Business Plan Competition, (NGI), made a presentation to event sponsors on their company’s progress recently at SUNY Oswego. “Winning this competition has helped us move forward by leaps and bounds,” said Paul Grimshaw, Ocean Blue’s co-owner. The Fulton-based company has developed the DiveBudTM Scuba Safety Platform, which is intended to be safer than its current competitors, and has appeal in the recreational diving market. From left: Rick Harvell, co-owner OBT; Grimshaw; Thomas Greco, mortgage loan originator, Fulton Savings Bank; Joy Campbell, assistant vice president, PathFinder Bank; and Michael Quenville, vice president/business development officer, PathFinder Bank. Entries are now being accepted for the 2010 competition. Complete details are at www.oswegocounty.org/bizcomp.htm, 315-343-1545, or mail to: [email protected]

“The NGI timetable calls for eligible teams to submit an executive summary of their idea by May 3, 2010,” Wheelock said.  “A team of judges will evaluate the executive summaries and up to 10-15 semi-finalists will be selected for round two. These semi-finalists are required to submit a business plan that follows competition requirements by Sept. 6, 2010. The winning team will be selected and announced at a luncheon on Nov. 9, 2010.”

OBT is owned and operated by Grimshaw, a marine biologist, and Rick Harvell, manufacturing technologist. The Fulton-based company has developed the DiveBudTM Scuba Safety Platform which is intended to be safer than its current competitors, and has appeal in the recreational diving market. The DiveBud is a floating marker with a reflective flag and LED beacon that is tethered to the diver below.

“The dangers to divers from boaters and jet skiers make a bull shark look safe,” Grimshaw said. “The DiveBud helps divers be seen and be safe.”  Since winning the 2008 NGI competition, OBT has also developed a DiveBud self-coiling scuba reel, and  has plans for modifying the equipment for commercial diving and Homeland Security applications. The products are manufactured in Oswego County and sold in all major diving markets including the Great Lakes region, Florida and California. More information is available on their website, www.oceanbluetech.com.

“NGI is the result of business and community leaders joining together to create this competition that encourages entrepreneurs to commit to new business development in Oswego County and offers a $25,000 prize to help make a dream come true,” Wheelock said.

The web site,  www.oswegocounty.org/bizcomp.htm, includes an overview of the event, a competition timeline, guidelines, details on the $25,000 prize, sponsors, partners and contact information.  In addition, the $25,000 can potentially be leveraged to borrow up to $250,000 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, and other economic development agencies.

The winner will also receive two free submissions to New York’s’ Creative Core $200,000, 2011 Emerging Business Competition.

To assist the semi-finalists, SUNY Oswego’s Office for Business and Community Relations will offer a free optional workshop in June June to provide additional support for the business plan submission.

On Nov. 9, the finalists must give a 20-minute presentation on their business plan in-person to the panel of judges. Following the presentation, a luncheon and awards ceremony announcing the winner will be held. The $25,000

prize must be used to start or expand a business in Oswego County.

“Our organizing team believes that Oswego County offers a wealth of resources and opportunities for businesses to start and flourish here. We are all extremely excited to see what great ideas competition participants generate,”

Wheelock said. Media sponsor for the event is Time Warner’s News 10 Now.

For more information, visit the web site at  www.oswegocounty.org/bizcomp.htm, or Wheelock can be contacted at 315-343-1545 or at  [email protected].

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