10 companies set to tussle in the Lion’s Lair
Ten Hamilton companies, from a customized hockey blade manufacturer to a pain-tracking tool to a social media app for walking tours, are heading into the Lion’s Lair competition.
The finalists gathered at the Innovation Factory headquarters Wednesday evening to formally commit to taking part in the months-long bid to win a share of the $100,000 prize.
Many finalists said they are looking for exposure for their product to land sales or investment, others said they want business advice from the panel of judges (the lions).
All said they were thrilled to be among the 10 finalists chosen from 60 applicants.
“We are just really proud to be involved in this,” said Peter Rupcic, vice-president of sales and marketing for Lusso Living. The company is promoting a motorized system to lower and open cabinets for those in wheelchairs.
“The exposure for our product is something we couldn’t do on our own.”
Tom Schopf, who designs and markets products for competitive cyclists, says having access to business mentors is a huge opportunity.
“If you surround yourself with people who always just say, ‘That’s wonderful,’ you’ll never have that breakthrough moment.”
The finalists will spend the summer training with mentors to make pitches to the lions.
The judges for the third annual competition are: Carmela Trombetta (RBC Royal Bank), Paul Lee-Chin (Manulife Securities), Mike Morreale (CFL Players’ Association), Mark Chamberlain (Trivaris Ltd.) and Blair McKeil (McKeil Marine).
“We have seen entrepreneurial spirit grow across Hamilton, and this competition allows us to train some of the best innovators and entrepreneurs in this area, and present them to the Hamilton community,” said Ron Neumann, executive director of Innovation Factory.
The competition awards $100,000 in cash and business services, with half going to the winner.
Lion’s Lair is a partnership between the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and Innovation Factory.
Tidy Feeder, REfficient and Nervu were winners in 2012, while Weever Apps, Anivac and Gorilla Cheese took the honours in 2011.