By: Dale King Contributing Writer
Lock It Plates, a product created as a more convenient way to transport food, won first place and $12,000 in prize money at this year’s Florida Atlantic University Business Plan Competition, hosted by FAU’s Adams Center for Entrepreneurship and the College of Business at the FAU Office Depot Center.
For Jerry Desamur, a civil engineering student at FAU, and his friends, Johny Delvar and Christopher Mundy, the idea for Lock It Plates was a natural outgrowth of being part of South Florida’s Caribbean community. Desamur and Delvar are from Haiti; Mundy’s family from Jamaica.
“Being from the islands, we share food with family with neighbors, and we’re always carrying food around, sharing our culture through food, that’s what we do,” said Delvar, a student at Broward College who plans to transfer to FAU.
“So that’s how the solution came about,” he said, “because we always struggle to carry food around everywhere we go. This was our solution, and it became a great idea and we decided to pursue it.”
The product’s development came about from talking with their friends who face similar problems carrying food in traditional containers.
“We came together and knocked heads, and we also got a group of people to see what they wanted in a food container,” said Mundy, who graduated from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, N.Y., with a degree in business management and information technology. “We thought if we’re having problems with food containers, other people have to be having problems, too.”
From there, they found a friend to help with the design and another to help produce a prototype. They said they have designed the first lockable, disposable, reusable and secure plastic plates that make eating on the go easier.
With the prize money in hand, they’re now looking to get a patent for their product.
The annual competition encourages FAU students, faculty, staff and recent graduates to pitch their game-changing ideas for a chance to obtain funding for their new ventures. Five finalists made it into the final round.
Second prize and a $6,000 award went to Roizo, which creates innovative strength training products that increase the performance of athletes. Roizo’s new grip apparel technology is aimed at changing the current athletic landscape, starting with the Roizo grip shirt, grip sleeves and grip socks.
Contiguity Spatial Solutions (CSS) took third place and earned a $3,000 prize. CSS provides customized solutions to businesses in the geospatial field by specializing in developing tools and applications using the latest technologies.
The People’s Choice winner of a $1,000 prize was Milámu, which creates handmade essential oil blends and natural skincare products using elements that hold the concentration of active ingredients to effectively fight skin deficiencies and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Kunal Mehta, a New York City-based venture capitalist and author, delivered the keynote speech. He is a former entrepreneur who documents the stories of the bold risk-takers that change the world through technology and social impact.
Along with prize money, teams compete for legal and business services, space at FAU’s Tech Runway and the opportunity to present their business plan to local angel investors, venture capital groups and others.
Sponsors of the event included Martin Greenberg (platinum sponsor), SBA Communications (silver sponsor) and Northwestern Mutual – The Striano Financial Group (bronze sponsor).
Greenberg, who also served as a judge, said all of the teams were impressive, and although it was a very close competition, Lock It Plates was the clear winner.
“They had a really good business plan and showed the judges they have an excellent chance of success,” he said. “Their enthusiasm helped them stand out. But all of the teams were very professional.”