Cruz Foam, which transforms shrimp shell waste into the eco-friendly equivalent of styrofoam, won the $20,000 Venture Division grand prize at the 2018 Startup Challenge Monterey Bay, held Saturday May 12 at CSUMB @ Salinas City Center. Runners up AudibleRx and Radicle Snacks each landed $5,000 to support continued business development, following final round Startup Challenge Otter Tank pitches. That Garlic Stuff, a homemade garlic sauce made with locally sourced garlic, earned a $10,000 cash prize as the Main Street Division winner. Runners-up Arti-Culture and Splendid Blended each earned $2,500 prizes. BOHO Marketplace won the Student Division to earn the $1,500 prize. BOHO, founded by two students from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, is an innovative and values-based insurance marketplace that provides customers an easy way to compare and purchase insurance policies while also providing insurance to someone in need in an emerging market.
82 entrepreneurs from the Monterey Bay region entered the 2018 Startup Challenge. The Challenge includes three divisions: Venture, for businesses intended to grow into large enterprises; Main Street, for small businesses; and Student, for high school through graduate school students. These applicants presented their ideas to a panel of judges in the Qualifying Round on April 7th. From that group, 25 finalists were selected to expand their business idea and prepare a 10-minute presentation to a panel of judges in the morning on May 12th. From these, the top three Venture finalists and the top three Main Street finalists competed in the Otter Tank pitch competition. Find out more about the Challenge and a wide range of other entrepreneurial opportunities online at the Startup Monterey Bay website.