Two Regional Startups Win $50,000 Best Community Venture Award

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (May 1, 2019) — During this year’s McCloskey New Venture Competition, Frost Control Systems and GameChanger™ were the shared recipients of the 2019 Best Community Venture Award. Sponsored by Startup South Bend – Elkhart, a committee of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership and Elevate Ventures, a venture development organization headquartered in Indianapolis, the $50,000 cash prize recognizes local startups that have made an impact in the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem over the past year.

“The 2019 McCloskey New Venture Competition was a great success with a record number of entries from community ventures and a record amount of award funding going to community ventures,” said Gavin Ferlic, Entrepreneurial Engagement Director – North Central Indiana at Elevate Ventures. In particular, the two companies who shared first place for the Best Community Venture Award, not only delivered great presentations, but the progress they have both made as startups is exceptional, especially in regard to customer validation and traction.”

Frost Control Systems
Frost Control Systems is a company that manufacturers and deploys a complex set of IoT sensors to provide reliable road weather information.

2019 Best Community Venture Award: $25,000

“We’re deeply honored to have been announced as a Grand Prize winner of the Best Community Venture Award,” said Bradley Tener, Frost Control System President. “We’re seeing a number of unexpected opportunities popping up as a result of the competition, and these funds are allowing us to act upon them We couldn’t be more thankful, and we’re blessed to be in a community that has helped us grow from an idea into an industry leading product.”

Sengo Products has invented the GameChanger™, an eco-friendly food tray that meets venues needs to increase the use of environmentally-friendly products.

Best Community Venture Award: $25,000

“Team GameChanger™ is honored to be a co-recipient of the Best Community Venture Grand prize,” said MH Toth, GameChanger™ co-founder. “We are extremely thankful for the opportunity to work with six Notre Dame undergraduate students and our mentor, Notre Dame alumna, Soraya Hernandez. The McCloskey New Venture competition has positioned us for success by connecting us with industry experts and providing tremendous visibility to key contacts nationwide. It also illustrates how the university and community can collaborate and be a catalyst to spark innovation and growth in our region.”

In partnership with IDEA Center at the University of Notre Dame, Startup South Bend – Elkhart has allocated resources to help support high potential startups like Frost Control Systems and GameChanger™ allowing them to participate in the Commercialization Engine Program at the IDEA Center. Both startups have successfully completed the program which takes early-stage technologies through a process of de-risking and transforms them into life-changing and productive applications.

“We are please to have the opportunity to continue to support innovative companies like Frost Control Systems and GameChanger™ , and even more excited that they are located here in the region,” said Catlin Bulger, South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership Startup Ecosystem Manager. “In providing these funding resources local startups are able to reach new milestones while remaining in the South Bend – Elkhart Region.”

17 area teams were awarded more than $350,000 in cash and in-kind prizes at the 2019 McCloskey New Venture Competition on Friday April 12. Teams presented before a panel of nationally-known judges and 600 attendees in the Dahnke Ballroom at the University of Notre Dame stadium.

“It is very exciting to see so many viable community-based companies competing in the 2019 McCloskey New Venture Competition,” said Jim Larkin, Startup South Bend – Elkhart board treasurer. “It adds to the sense of optimism and momentum that seem to permeate both the Elkhart and South Bend entrepreneurial community.”


About Startup South Bend – Elkhart
Startup South Bend – Elkhart was formed by the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership (SBERP) with a mission to promote and foster the creation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the South Bend – Elkhart Region by stimulating the entrepreneurial spirit and culture in our citizens, identifying and nurturing new business startups and supporting the growth of existing high potential businesses.

About Elevate Ventures
Elevate Ventures is a private venture development organization that nurtures and develops emerging and existing high-growth businesses into high-performing, Indiana based-companies. Elevate Ventures accomplished this by providing access to capital, rigorous business analysis and robust advisory services that connect companies with the right mix of resources businesses need to succeed long term.