Entrepreneurs need determination, flexibility, courage, and a great idea. What don’t they need? Decades of experience.

Our 2017 LaunchVT 1st Prize Winners proved that even a couple of college students can develop and execute on a grand idea. MajorWise, an online platform that provides a variety of internship opportunities for college students, may sound like your average university career software. But co-founders and UVM students Max Robbins and Peter Silverman have achieved early success by setting themselves apart: creating a streamlined user experience, including project-based positions, and focusing their platform on local businesses rather than large national companies. The team won $30,000 cash and $45,000 of in-kind services from local service providers. They gained their spot in the LaunchVT Final Competition as winners of the LaunchVT Collegiate Competition in February. Upon receiving their award, Silverman told the crowd that they’ve been successful by attending every LaunchVT event for 18 months, asking questions and making changes to their product based on the feedback they received.

The Innovation Prize, sponsored by Vermont EPSCoR, went to Packetized Energy, a software that creates human-friendly systems for coordinating distributed energy resources found in homes and small businesses, enabling the grid to reliably integrate renewable energy and helping end users make smarter use of electricity. Paul Hines, a UVM professor and co-founder of Packetized Energy, told the crowd that Vermont is the best place in the world to build a clean energy software business. The startup won $15,000 cash and $25,000 of in-kind services from local companies.

The other finalists were Tomorrow’s Harvest, the first cricket farm for human consumption in Vermont; TheaterEngine, an online platform for the performing arts industry; GreenScale Technologies, a company creating propulsion systems for small satellites; campersAPP, a custom experience app for campgrounds; and Share to Wear, a clothing rental platform that allows college women to share and rent dresses.

LaunchVT would not be possible without the support of our sponsors. Our 2017 Platinum Sponsors are Vermont EPSCoR, Seven Days, and the Vermont Department of Economic Development. To see more of our sponsors, visit www.launchvt.com/partners-1/.

LaunchVT is a community initiative powered by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce to provide entrepreneurs with an opportunity to get exposure, education and real experience to start their business.

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