Illini Entrepreneurship Center Network Fall Awards Announced

Category : Recognition & Awards
Posted on: November 2, 2010

The Illini Entrepreneurship Center Network distributed more than $40,000 in grant funding to 10 area businesses this fall. Six of the companies received matching challenge grants, ranging in amounts from $3,500 to $5,000, to pay for professional services directed towards the achievement of a business milestone. The Illini Entrepreneurship Center Network (IECN), housed at EnterpriseWorks at the University of Illinois, serves East Central Illinois small businesses with support to help them grow and succeed with consulting, training, and grants. It is supported by funding from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The six challenge grant winners are:

Dioxide Materials, Inc, is an early-stage company that is commercializing patent pending technology in the areas of carbon dioxide remediation, energy conservation and indoor air quality control. Founded by Richard Masel, an emeritus faculty member in the University of Illinois College of Engineering Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Dioxide Materials is based in EnterpriseWorks.

Aqueous Solutions LLC creates, maintains, and supports software products for solving problems in aqueous geochemistry, including those arising in environmental remediation and clean energy production. Founded and developed by Craig Bethke, a University of Illinois geology professor, the
company plans is transitioning technology developed within the University into a new startup venture.

InstaRecon, Inc. is developing technology that can simultaneously improve image quality, increase reconstruction speed, and reduce reconstruction engine cost in medical, security, industrial, and research CT applications. Founded by Yoram Bresler, a University of Illinois professor in the departments of
Electrical and Computer Engineering and Bioengineering, the company is based in EnterpriseWorks.

Integrated Sensor Systems, Inc. is an early-stage startup co-founded by Blake Landry, a University of Illinois Ph.D. candidate in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The company has invented a new device for sensing liquids that is more affordable and more accurate than current sensors
on the market.

PrintEco, Inc. is a student start-up founded by four University of Illinois undergraduates. They have developed a software technology that aims to save corporations millions of dollars in paper costs as well as enable them to implement sustainability practices. The company has received support from Illinois Launch, Cozad New Venture Competition, and IllinoisVENTURES.

SFM Technology, Inc. was founded in 2005 to provide products and services to support critical technical needs in the electronics design and manufacturing industry, as well as to commercialize ongoing research activities of the company founders in the domains of product data modeling and PCA/PCB
manufacturability and testability analysis. Founder James A. Stori is a former University of Illinois faculty member. The company is located downtown Urbana.

In addition to the challenge grants, the IECN partnered with Illinois Business Consulting, the student consulting organization at the University of Illinois, to help four local companies contract IBC for projects this semester. IBC performs a wide array of consulting services including business plan development,
market research, and financial projections. Each company received $3,000 from IECN towards its project with IBC. In addition, IBC gave the companies a discounted rate for its services.

The four companies who received grants for IBC projects are:

Acoustic MedSystems, Inc., a Champaign-based company that specializes in the design of ultrasound and radiation therapy systems and instrumentation for treatment of localized diseases.

Aptimmune Biologics, Inc. is a company based at EnterpriseWorks that is developing a vaccine for swine.

Biota Biosciences, Inc. is a biotech startup company focused on animal health products that increase food supply, the founder formerly worked in animal research at Elanco. 

Visual Information Technologies, Inc.(ZingZag) is a startup software company that has developed a flexible tool for creating and sharing multimedia web content. The company is based at EnterpriseWorks.

New Illinois Launch Companies at EnterpriseWorks
EnterpriseWorks is pleased to partner with Illinois Launch and the University of Illinois to host student startup and young alumni companies in the incubator as part of the Illinois Launch program. This fall teams were competitively selected to become part of the program and work on building their business. The following new companies are now located in EnterpriseWorks:

Battlehard Games
Battlehard Games is gaming company creating strategy games that have automated performance options, which allow the user to provide simple coding that allows the game to play for the user with their preferences. This will facilitate the gamer being able to take a break from the game without losing competitiveness and continuing to advance in the games cycle. The company also believes this has the potential to provide a fun educational platform to allow students to learn basics of computer coding through a video game experience.
CouponRelay is social media platform to allow businesses to share coupons virally with their clients and their friends through Facebook. The company has developed a simple process for redemption of the coupons and validation of the offer through text messaging. The service provides an affordable and viral marketing method for companies to advertise to customers.

SilverScreen keeps milk fresh for more than 72 hours without refrigeration (up to 100°F) and extends the shelf-life of refrigerated milk too. Silverscreen is a small capsule or insert that is immersed in milk to extend its shelf-life. It reduces the extent of refrigeration required and hence reduces energy costs. It also kills pathogenic bacteria. Because SilverScreen depends only on contact between the insert and the beverage, it can flexibly be used with current or future designs of storage containers. SilverScreen inserts can be reused multiple times, and after a certain number of use cycles, the active element in the insert can be replaced or replenished. Zeba Parker is the company founder, she is a PhD students in Materials Science at the University of Illinois. 

MyCollegeStorage provides a hassle-free, tech savvy solution for moving and storage for college students. The company picks up belongings, securely stores them, and redelivers them for students to help them transition locations during the summer, study abroad semesters, or for other moving needs. The company is targeting international students as a primary audience.

EnterpriseWorks is also pleased to continue to host existing Illinois Launch teams including Tiesta Tea, Intelliwheels, Illini Prosthetics, and Green Purpose this semester.

Bio is Returning to Chicago in 2013 and 2016
Today BIO announced that their Annual BIO Convention will be returning to Chicago in 2013 and 2016. This announcement is a testament to Illinois community’s breadth and strength in growing the region as a life sciences center. This has been achieved because of the public, private and academic partnerships that have successfully hosted two previous record breaking BIO conventions.