CHICAGO ï¿½ Twelve companies will compete for a chance to be named one of Illinoisï¿½ most innovative companies after advancing to the finals round of the Innovate Illinois competition. The companies are competing for a chance to win $80,000 in prize money, which will be used to help commercialize their product. Finalists will have seven minutes to present their innovations to a panel of judges followed by a three minute question and answer session.
The two top honorees at the finals will each receive a $30,000 cash prize, and the two runners-up will each receive a $10,000 second place prize. The finals will be held on Tuesday, November 10 from 1:30 pm ï¿½ 7:30 pm at the University of Chicagoï¿½s Gleacher Center. The Innovate Illinois program is administered jointly by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, an affiliate of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, which works to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurial companies. To learn more about the program, visit
The 2009 Innovate Illinois finalists are:
|Early Stage Companies||Location||Contact||Company Summary|
|Balanced IT Solutions |
|South Beloit ||Kerry Frank |
|Software development company that builds customized software solutions for various industries.|
|EcoMobil ||Aurora ||Prasad Keshava|
|Manufactures, assembles and builds vehicles and products that deliver increased fuel savings, reduction in harmful emissions and run on alternative fuels or power sources. |
|Intellihot Green Technologies Inc. ||Peoria ||Sridhar Deivasigamani|
|Green technology company developing and commercializing a gas fired tankless water heater for residential and light commercial application|
|J&J Solutions ||Palatine ||John Slump |
|Medical device company that has developed innovative technology to optimize safety, increase efficiency, and reduce the cost of preparing and administering chemotherapy pharmaceuticals.|
Mama Cucas Cosina
|Sterling ||Alfredo Cervantes|
|Vending company that produces Hispanic|
pastries for individual resale.
SFM Technology, Inc.
|Software development and engineering services company focused on the development of novel technology for the modeling, maintenance, and distribution of computer-interpretable models of electronic components|
|Later Stage Companies||Location||Contact||Company Summary|
|Brianza Bella ||Carlinville ||Sherry Brianza|
|Developer, manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of a skin care treatment line for multi-cultural women|
|Cbana Labs ||Champaign ||Timothy Hoerr 217-840-9695 ||Develops micro-scale detection systems for the capture and analysis of pollutants, chemical warfare agents, drugs and other dangerous materials|
|Salare Security||Chicago||Paul Sand |
|The company provides a security solution that stops data and executables such as trade secrets, product plans, and malware from flowing through a VoIP network.|
|Stone Medical Corporation ||Moline ||Ben Stone |
|The Stone Medical Corporation provides the Clean Collect Blood Collection System to hospitals. Clean Collect is a patented system that prevents contamination of blood cultures|
|Tula Foods ||Evanston ||Daphne Mazarakis|
|Developed a line of science-based, functional foods under the Better Whey of Lifeï¿½ brand. Better Whey of Lifeï¿½ is the first brand to enhance everyday foods with Whey Protein, a nutrient with significant emerging science behind its ability to realize fat loss and lost inches around the waist.|
|Universal Die Cast, Inc. ||Machesney Park ||Harold Winebaugh|
|The company zinc die cast small to medium sized flash free zinc die cast parts for all types of industries. |
Across the state, over 130 companies applied to the 2009 Innovate Illinois program. From there, 30 companies were selected by the stateï¿½s Entrepreneurship Centers and participated in the semifinals on September 24.
Semifinalist companies in the later stage were: Alerts Made Easy, Brianza Bella, Cbana Labs, Direct Logic Solutions, Health$hield, IM Lock Software, Load Locker Inc., MegAssist Solutions, Results Cryo, Inc, Salare Security, Seeds of Blessing, Shoehorn Furnishings, LLC, Stone Medical Corporation, Tula Foods, and Universal Die Cast, Inc.
Semifinalist companies in the early stage were: Balanced IT Solutions, Eco-Brine, EcoMobil, Freedom Gates, Green Line Armor, LLC, Here to Help Products, Inc., InCharge Systems, Inc., Intellihot Green Technologies Inc., J&J Solutions, Municipal Solutions, Inc, PayPerWatt, PeopleStox, SFM Technology, Inc., Snack It Vending, and Tapease.
The Entrepreneurship Centers are part of the Illinois Entrepreneurship Network (IEN), administered by DCEO. The IEN was created to strengthen the stateï¿½s capacity to develop small businesses into market successes and help entrepreneurship act as a more dynamic engine of growth. IEN partners, which offer varying levels of expertise and access to services, include: Entrepreneurship Centers, Small Business Development Centers, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, SBDC International Trade Centers, and Manufacturing Extension Centers. Entrepreneurs in need of assistance can visit the IEN Web site at
www.ienconnect.com, or call the DCEO Business Hotline toll-free at 1-800-252-2923.