Four Gulf Coast companies are among 16 finalists for the Cade Museum Prize, a $50,000 reward for creativity and inventiveness. The Cade Museum for Creativity + Invention in Gainesville sponsors the Florida-wide award.
The four area finalists include: Advanced Technologies and Testing Laboratories: Tampa-based firm develops products that eliminate airborne bacteria, viruses, allergens, mold and volatile organic compounds.
Newgenerator: Launched at the University of South Florida, the product recovers and generates nutrients, energy and water from waste.
Innovatia Medical Systems: St. Petersburg-based firm, also affiliated with the University of South Florida, created a miniature wireless high-definition video camera for minimally invasive surgery;
Aqua Mixer: Based in Sarasota, the firm created a system that reduces water usage, improves flush performance and prevents water waste from leaking toilets.
Marty Wynkopp, director of the 2014 Cade Prize contest and a board member of the Cade Museum Foundation, calls the group the Cade Sweet 16 — an ode to March Madness. The 16 companies were chosen among 84 submissions.
The next step, Wynkopp says, is executives with the Sweet 16 will have an opportunity to show how the company has done, or can do, in the marketplace. In addition to a marketing plan, executives will have a chance to go to Gainesville and pitch their business to a group of judges. The group of 16 will be whittled down to four by May. Then a trio of national judges will be flown into Gainesville for the Final Four.
“Before we just looked at innovations,” Wynkopp tells Coffee Talk about round one. “Now we want to know how practical the idea is. We want to see if this is just a science project or if it's something that will change lives.”
The Cade prize and related museum is named for Dr. James Robert Cade, a medicine and physiology professor at University of Florida College of Medicine who invented Gatorade.