Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Newpreneur of the Year

Hydrovolts won a $5,000 prize as a national finalist for Newpreneur of the Year in a contest sponsored by and Inc. Magazine. The grand prize winner was Joel Smith and Forward Mobility, a Washington State maker of medical devices, including the innovative Freedom Leg. Although Hydrovolts did not win one of the top prizes we were very pleased to make it all the way to the finals; the $5,000 prize will be a big help in the construction of a full-size version of the Flipwing turbine.

Hydrovolts CEO Burt Hamner gave the 90-second elevator pitch, which, according to the scoring criteria, emphasized the business, the impact of the recession, and how plays (or will play) a role in its success. Sorry for the initially shaky video, the result of some jostling and (finally) finding a stable shooting posture:

All of us at Hydrovolts would like to thank the thousands of you that voted for us on-line. The voting was to select the finalists for the trip to San Francisco. Unfortunately, as some of you found, the voting system had some problems, so, in the end, Publisher Whelan Mahoney made a great decision: to invite all the competing companies!  We were ecstatic to go to the finals, and we really enjoyed meeting and talking with our fellow "newpreneurs" and keynote speaker Tom Peters.

Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence,
makes a point to Burt Hamner and the rest of the audience
at the Newpreneur of the Year finals in San Francisco.

There were over 1000 original entrants in the competition, each of whom submitted an essay describing their business, the impact of the recession and how Alibaba was or would be key to its success. Burt's essay was one of only 30 selected. These 30 competed in six regional competitions of 5 semifinalists each, giving a stand-up elevator pitch (with no PowerPoint!) and answering questions about their business from a panel of expert judges. Chris Leyerle gave the elevator pitch at the regional semi-finals in Seattle:

Hydrovolts COO Chris Leyerle shows the turbine
prototype at the regional semifinals in Seattle.

Congratulations to Joel, Forward Mobility, and the rest of our fellow finalists. And thank you to the good folks at Alibaba and Inc. for a great gala evening at the Bently Reserve in San Francisco, the national recognition and some money to help Hydrovolts succeed!

Hydrovolts press release [pdf]
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