Up to $30,000 in Awards for Best Startup Companies at The Big Launch Challenge

DANVILLE, VA & RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.--The Launch Place, a leading recruiter of entrepreneurs in the Dan River Region of Virginia, and First Flight Venture Center (FFVC), RTP’s largest technology incubator, announced today a unique partnership to attract the most innovative technology start-up companies in North Carolina and Virginia to a competition that planners of the event are referring to as “high stakes." The Big Launch Challenge is open to early-stage North Carolina and Virginia based companies in nano, green and information technologies; alternative energy; advanced manufacturing and materials; and medical device industries. The Big Launch Competition final event will feature the top five entrepreneurs from the online competition featured on http://thebiglaunch2014.iStart.org, the go-to site for business competitions.  Presenters will pitch at the Institute for Advanced Learning & Research in Danville, Va., on May 22, 2014.

Contenders will present their business ideas to a panel of judges, who are members of The Launch Place’s seed fund advisory board and experienced in technology assessment, commercialization and early-stage investment.

The top two presenters will be awarded up to $15,000 each.

“The Big Launch Challenge is slated to become one of the foremost events for startups in the region,” said Eva Doss, President and CEO of The Launch Place. “Not only will the competition provide entrepreneurs with prize money, it also will serve as a platform for them to learn about The Launch Place’s unique entrepreneurship services and on-going investment opportunities in Danville, Virginia.”

The Launch Place supports the creation of an “idea based entrepreneurship network” in the Danville, Va., region by providing a wide array of services and incentives to emerging and serial entrepreneurs with business ideas primarily related to engineering, IT and bio- materials.

“We are excited to be working with The Launch Place on the The Big Launch Challenge,” said Andy Schwab, President of First Flight Venture Center. “This is the first event in this region to bring together entrepreneurs and start-ups from two states, all in an effort to help find good ideas and build sustainable businesses.”

To register for the event and for more information, please visit: http://thebiglaunch2014.iStart.org.

As a 501 (C)(3) nonprofit organization, The Launch Place strives to energize and diversify Southern Virginia's regional economy through entrepreneurship development and business consulting services. Offering seed funding, office and housing subsidies, mentoring, training, coaching and virtual incubation services, The Launch Place focuses on recruiting and retaining entrepreneurs to and in the Danville, VA area.

Founded in 1992, First Flight Venture Center (www.ffvcnc.org) was created to foster innovation and grow sustainable companies.  Today, FFVC is one of the nation’s largest and most stable incubators, playing host to more than 37 high-science, high-impact companies annually.  In total, FFVC company startups number 267 and growing. Several of the most notable graduates include United Therapeutics (NASDAQ:  UTHR),  SciQuest (NASDAQ: SQI), Athenix (acquired Bayer NASDAQ  BAYRY), Advanced Liquid Logic (acquired Illumina NASDAQ: ILMN),  Bloodhound Technologies (acquired by Verisk VRSK), Ganymede Software (acquired NETIQ IPO),  and Exam Design (acquired Pearson PLC NASDAQ PSO).

Copyright © 2014, NCTechNews. North Carolina technology news on NCTechNews, reporting the business of life sciences and innovation. Published by Innovative Public Relations, Inc., a Research Triangle, North Carolina based publicity and branding consultancy. David Menzies, President. www.innovativepublicrelations.com.