By Edward Cardenas

SOUTHFIELD (CBS Detroit) – Two Metro Detroit start-ups have been named regional winners in the Comcast Business’ Innovations For Entrepreneurs contest and are competing for up to $30,000 in cash awards to help grow their business.

Fresh Co Home Inc., in Bloomfield, and Lawrence Hunt, in Royal Oak, each received a $10,000 cash award as regional winners. They are among 32 regional winners who are competing to be one of six grand prize winners to receive an additional $20,000 and an all-expenses paid trip to Comcast Business headquarters in Philadelphia.

“Entrepreneurs and startups can accelerate their growth by leveraging technology to make their business more efficient and scalable,” said Denice Hasty, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product Management, Comcast Business in a release. “The Innovations 4 Entrepreneurs program celebrates these 32 businesses that are using technology in smart, strategic ways and we are pleased to underwrite the investments they need to help them continue to execute on their plans.”

The local businesses are now competing in the next round of the competition, which is a public vote. If the companies are among the top six, they will receive the additional cash award and the trip to Philadelphia to receive one-on-one consulting with business experts Patrick Fitzgerald, MB & Undergrad Entrepreneurship Lecturer at the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania and DreamIt Ventures Managing Director; Robert Irvine, Celebrity Chef and Entrepreneur and Comcast senior executives.

Both companies submitted essays describing how technology would enhance technology in their businesses.

Fresh Co Home Inc. stated:

“My clients always want to be kept up to date with the progress of their renovation progress. Some want every detail and others just want to know how it’s going. I want to provide a user friendly app, for clients and employees, to track the progress of each project. Employees start their day by adding a ‘to-do list’ for the job which they are working on for the day on their app. As they finish their tasks they either upload a picture or write a summary of the progress and for smaller tasks just ‘check’ off that task. Our clients would have access to their project only, via a link and password that is accessible through the app and also a website. They would have the chance then to browse through pictures and summaries of the progress. They would be able to message the main crew manager and ask questions, provide insight or just to say a quick thank you.”

Lawrence Hunt’s essay stated:

“To properly scale and provide innovative products to people across the globe, we need to use technology in two ways as the driving factor: 1) to support and grow our distribution strategy, and 2) to support and grow our product range. To properly reach the millions of people across the globe that could benefit from our product, we need to implement a proper e-commerce platform. This means investing in technology that promotes a smooth customer experience on our website. For example, one challenge of selling dress shirts online is ensure the size/fit is correct. We would like to implement an application that provides our consumers with a size assessment so they feel comfortable knowing that they are purchasing the correct size and fit. Second, using on-demand delivery options that are now available in many markets through various technology applications, we want to implement a process whereby our customers can touch and feel our product during the purchasing process. We believe we can bring the brick and mortar store experience to the consumer. Finally, we need technology to continue to support the growth of our product line. Our products use advancements in fabric technology to help control sweat and odor. Without the continued research and development of new fabrics, we will not be able to properly grow our brand.”

Public Voting will run through May 10. The six grand prize winners will be announced the week of June 1, with the grand prize winner event in Philadelphia August 12-13.

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