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Cincinnati Innovates highlights 12 southwest Ohio innovators

While chores may never make it to your child's bucket list, two Cincinnati entrepreneurs are developing a web-based and mobile application that can make them more enjoyable.

The idea was enough to garner Chris Bergman and Paul Armstrong's ChoreMonster a $25,000 CincyTech Commercialization award at this year's Cincinnati Innovates competition.

ChoreMonster, now under development, connects chores and rewards through a point system. The application, which can be accessed by parents and their children, awards kids points based on the type of chore they complete. The points can then be cashed in for real rewards like a gaming system or a night out at the movies.

ChoreMonster was among a dozen local entrepreneurs recently shared $115,000 in grants awarded by Cincinnati Innovates, a nonprofit in search of the "next big thing. Cincinnati startup Acceptd, which is developing web-based software designed to make it easier for university professionals to manage video applications for creative and sports programs, also won a $25,000 commercialization award.

"For the most part we're looking for entrepreneurs with a 'disruptive' innovation, with the potential to grow into great companies," says Elizabeth Edwards, founder of Metro Innovation and organizer of the competition. "These disruptive innovations have the potential to completely transform a marketplace."

In the past three years, more than 1,000 local entrepreneurs have participated in the annual competition, and winners have divvied up a total of $250,000 in grants provided by 23 sponsors. Past winners have raised over $3.5 million in follow-on capital, have been featured in national media, and are changing the world with their ideas.

This year's dozen innovators will save stroke victims, help travelers avoid missing flights, protect firefighters, stimulate kids to do their chores, and help to draft better fantasy sports teams.

"Cincinnati Innovates was a joint effort between CincyTech, the Taft law firm, Soapbox  and myself," says Edwards. "The awards are important in helping to identify aspiring entrepreneurs. Typically, aspiring entrepreneurs don't wear tee shirts that say, 'I'm thinking about starting a company.'"

She adds: "We are looking at things at the concept stage, before a business plan is even written . . . entrepreneurs must have a nearly transformational innovation and be serious about commercializing it. CincyTech, for example, has three awards . . . they're typically looking for healthcare and IT companies, something that offers a potential market exceeding 250 million dollars," says Edwards.

Other awards are outside the healthcare and IT markets.
Sources: Elizabeth A. Edwards, Metro Innovation; Soapbox
Writer: Patrick G. Mahoney
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