A technology startup focused on the timely issue of hand washing captured the top award in this year’s Gauntlet Business Program and Competition.
The nonprofit Advancement Foundation held its sixth annual awards ceremony — this one virtual — on June 26. GermZapp, which has developed a hand-washing monitoring system that tracks compliance with recommended guidelines, earned first place, which came with $26,000 in cash and in-kind awards.
This year, 170 entrepreneurs representing 111 businesses participated in the business program, which kicked off in February and is open to those who want to start or expand a business in the region. After completing 10 weeks of classes, much of which was done virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, 55 entrepreneurs competed for more than $300,000 in cash and prizes.
“From having over 170 entrepreneurs participating to shifting the program entirely online in response to COVID-19, this year's cohort truly embodied the spirit of entrepreneurship,” a news release from the Advancement Foundation states.
Horse Mountain Farm, which specializes in seed-raised chestnut trees and advocating for sustainable food sources, won second place, and Cowden Technologies, a Blacksburg-based drone technology company, earned third place.