A five-minute presentation landed one entrepreneur $2,000 for their business during the HATCH challenge program this week.

Five inventors made business presentations to a panel of judges during the program Thursday at Southport Beach House, hoping to be win a cash prize for the best idea. In the end, it was Toby Thomas, the last to make his presentation, who won the judges over, winning a $2,000 prize for presenting FreshEx, a packaging product designed to curb the growth of mold on food.

Thomas, using a PowerPoint presentation, presented his idea and explained the science behind his invention, according to Cassandra Polzin, media relations manager with Leeward Business Advisors.

Polzin said 11-year-old Alex Hart-Upendo, of Racine, wowed the audience of 136 as a fan favorite with his Build-a-Bow for pets, but did not win a prize.

A panel of five judges including business professionals, University of Wisconsin-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford and Ed Javier, co-founder of Wisconsin Startup Week, reviewed the presentations.

The Kenosha Startup Week event, sponsored by Brightstar, Kurt Jorgenson, Leeward Business Advisors, NEWaukee and Ylink, was the first of a series of HATCH events that are scheduled for July, September and November.

The HATCH challenge is affiliated with a state program under the administration of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Jeremy Fojut, founder and chief executive officer with NEWaukee, said he brought to program to Kenosha because the pilot program in central Wisconsin in 2017 was successful.

Kenneth Murray, organizer of Kenosha Startup Week, has said the event would be a great opportunity and would offer a new way for innovators and entrepreneurs to connect with the resources and support networks that they need to move their projects forward. Prospective entrepreneurs who wish to participate in future HATCH challenges can get more information at http://hatchwi.com.

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