The O’Dells The South
Carbondale startup that wants to make southern Illinois a hub for online content, film, TV, podcast and other media is the winner of the Bank’s business plan competition regional 2021.
Brand Advocacy Group, a tenant of the Southern Illinois University Carbondale business incubator, was announced as the winner of the top $ 5,000 prize at an innovation and entrepreneurship showcase event Thursday in SIU.
Company founder Nathan Colombo of Carbondale said the honor gives the company credibility.
“There have been a lot of people who question my motives in this job because they don’t understand it,” Colombo said. “I think it’s a step forward to help these people understand it.”
Colombo said the company’s goal is to produce small-scale media projects for a variety of clients and causes while evolving facilities and technology into world-class facilities. The aim is to attract national and global production activities.
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He said the prize money would help fund the next stage of studio development and the production facility.
“This work has always been supported by this idea of reshaping Carbondale and the economy of southern Illinois through the media industry.”
A total of 16 entities submitted business plans for the competition, vying for commercial funding of $ 10,000 from the Bank of the Regions through the SIU Foundation.
SIU’s Research Park, Business Incubator, and Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIU have teamed up to nominate the competition. The submissions, which were reviewed by a panel of external judges, ranged from technology-driven innovations to traditional business concepts and product development ideas.
“The business plan competition brought a lot of new and interesting ideas,” said Greg Bouhl, director of entrepreneurship and business development for the university’s Office of Economic and Regional Development. “We’re all excited to see people taking these ideas and business plans and starting new businesses right here in Southern Illinois.”
Andrew Croxell received the second place award of $ 3,000 for his business plan for Hot Hut Outdoors, a camping tent designed to combat condensation and moisture build-up.
The $ 2,000 prize went to Energao, the company of Yong Gao and Rong Jiang, a company developing energy storage technology that could help homeowners and communities build mini-grids and micro-grids resilient and self-sufficient.
Bouhl said all start-ups that entered the competition benefited from their participation.
“There is a lot of experience just in writing a business plan and putting your ideas on paper. Being able to do that and then get feedback from the judges is helpful in being able to start businesses or take their businesses to the next level, ”he said.