The winners of Ben Franklin Technology Partners’ Big Idea Contest were announced Thursday evening.
Ten contestants from the Southern Alleghenies presented their technology startup ideas at Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center in Johnstown.
The first place winner was Hunter Swisher with Phospholutions, a product that soaks up and controls the release of fertilizer in the turf and ornamental plant industries. Swisher won $25,000, seed grant funding worth $10,000 and consultation services.
Heather Moyer took home $15,000 for winning second place for Crossroads Consulting, which tests devices to better predict and prevent slip and fall-related accidents in the work place.
Third place went to Mark Kasterko for MT Arms, a firearm retention device to secure a weapon, allowing law enforcement officers to simultaneously use their hands as needed. Kasterko won $7,500 for placing third and $2,500 for winning the People’s Choice Award.
“For folks to step forward with a new idea to start a business is exciting for the community and for them,” said Liz Wilson, the director of marketing for Ben Franklin Technology Partners.
One of the judges included the 2004 Big Idea Contest winner, Mike Stohon. He started In-Shore Technologies, a technology consulting firm that now employs dozens of local people.