Spark Bowl, a Shark Tank-like competition, recently brought small businesses together to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges at Delaware Valley University’s Life Sciences Building auditorium. The competition awarded a total of $21,000 in prize money to three small businesses, including the winner Liquid Limbs. Each participant was given five minutes to pitch to a panel of judges and 10 minutes to answer questions from the judges.
Liquid Limbs received $12,000 and the top student consultant team received $3,000. Prizes were also awarded to the second- and third-place teams in both categories.
Liquid Limbs’ first product, The Navigator, is a patent pending waterproof mobility aid designed specifically to help people with transtibial amputation navigate the shower independently. Liquid Limbs works with a group called Salute to Service in Newtown, where they have a dedicated workspace, working with military veterans who lost a limb fighting for our country.
“This is really changing the game for us because we have a lot of expenses that we need to meet,” said James Calcagni, founder and CEO of Liquid Limbs. “This is enabling us to bring this product to market and create more units, so we can get them in the hands of amputees, have people try the device, and give us the feedback so we can get to a finalized design to essentially launch the product next year.”
As part of DelVal’s experiential learning program, DelVal undergraduate students served as business consultants for the finalist teams by helping the businesses prepare their presentations, and were awarded prize money for their efforts, as well. Three student teams received a total of $6,000 in prize money.
“Student teams work with the finalists by doing market analyses, helping them with their business plans, making sure that they’re effective in how they present, and in some cases, they might look into the patent process,” said Dr. Tanya Casas, dean of DelVal’s School of Business and Humanities. “Getting that hands-on experience working with the business and researching a particular industry is really exciting for the students.”
A full list of prizes is as follows:
– First prize: Liquid Limbs, James Calcagni and Amoyah Gilliam, $12,000
– Second prize: Saint Rocco’s Treats, Kolby and Kaleb Rush, $6,000
– Third prize: Bake Ability Bakery, Paula Fasciano and Denise Campbell, $3,000
Student Consultant Prizes
– First prize: Liquid Limbs, Bridgette Schoultz, Lysette Eloi, Julia Lorenz (advisor Michael Wojcik), $3,000
– Second prize: Saint Rocco’s Treats, Elizabeth Goetz, Zachary Wasser (advisor Lyndsay Williams), $2,000
– Third prize: Bake Ability Bakery, Joseph Musa, Ryan Wiggins (advisor Dom Boffa), $1,000
Spark Bowl is hosted by DelVal and the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce and is possible because of sponsorships from Bucks County businesses and individuals. The five competing businesses represented the following industries: animal nutrition, education, prosthetics and mobility aids, job training for individuals with varying abilities, and public safety.
Saint Rocco’s Treats, Spark Bowl’s second-place winner, is a dog treat company that aims to foster transparency and quality in the dog treat and food market by baking treats and small batches of food within transparent, live, gourmet dog kitchens. Customers can view the process from raw ingredients to finished products. Saint Rocco’s Treats are jerky-style, high protein, including just five human-grade ingredients with no chemical preservatives and no fillers or by-products.
Bake Ability, Spark Bowl’s third-place winner, is a bakery in Holicong that provides the local marketplace with creative and freshly-baked confectionery products and serves the local community of differently-abled children in obtaining the necessary experiential job skills required for transitioning into the workforce.