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Entrepreneurs

2016 CEA Winners: Where Are They Now?

By Staff Reports, posted May 4, 2018
Coastal Entrepreneur winners from 2016 (File photos)
ATLANTIC BIOTECHNOLOGY 
COMPANY: Atlantic Biotechnology cultures zooplankton for larval feeds.  
YEAR FOUNDED: 2016 
EMPLOYEES: 5  
UPDATE: “When Atlantic Biotechnology received the CEA award in 2016, it was still a very new company…our first store began carrying our products a few weeks prior. Now, Atlantic Biotechnology products can be found in over 50 stores across the US and Canada. We have formed a partnership with a large aquarium feed manufacturing company to utilize their global distribution network. We have expanded from one product to two, with plans to add two more before the end of the year. The Global Aquaculture Alliance has listed Richard Huse in their 30 under 30 for Atlantic Biotechnology's potential to reshape marine hatchery production.”
PHOTO: Richard Huse, executive director   
 
BEAU’S COFFEE
COMPANY
: Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, formerly Beau’s Coffee, is a coffee shop that employs people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  
YEAR FOUNDED: 2016  
EMPLOYEES: 60  
UPDATE: The shop has been featured on national TV shows and in national publications. The brand was named the official coffee of the Rachael Ray Show, and founder Amy Wright was awarded 2017 CNN Hero of the Year. Bitty & Beau’s Coffee opened a second shop in Charleston, South Carolina, in February, and has plans to open 10 more in the U.S. in the next few years.  
GROWTH AND INNOVATION: “What differentiates Bitty & Beau’s Coffee from the competition is its primary focus on social profit – ‘changing the way people see people with intellectual and developmental disabilities’ – which drives its financial profit.”
PHOTO: Amy Wright, founder 
 
BRADFORD PRODUCTS
COMPANY: Bradford Products manufactures fully welded stainless steel pools, spas and water features.  
YEAR FOUNDED: 1982  
EMPLOYEES: 135   
UPDATE: “Since 2016, Bradford Products has spawned a completely autonomous company known as Bradford Wellness & Spa. This company consults, designs, and builds products for the fast-growing destination spa industry.”  
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Certainly, moving from a 58,000-square-foot facility to a 175,000-square-foot facility brought the biggest challenge. Data systems, infrastructure, relocating and realignment of equipment to fit the work flow process, and the relocation of all administrative and support personnel was a monumental task that you need to get right the first time.”
PHOTO: Mike Brodeur, vice president 
 
EDU-TELL
COMPANY
: Edu-Tell LLC offers Self-Mentoring, a service and process that guides individuals or groups toward success.  
YEAR FOUNDED: 2012  
EMPLOYEES: 1 
UPDATE: “Since the CEA award, Edu- Tell LLC has witnessed a shift and increase in customers requesting self-mentoring in the United Kingdom to the U.S.; the addition of Boeing Corporation the most current. Working with a corporate giant has put self-mentoring on a different map than when it started introducing self-mentoring just half a decade earlier. Another massive milestone for Edu-Tell LLC was this acknowledgment of self-mentoring in the U.S. as a resourceful and effective strategy for empowering leaders,” said Marsha Carr, owner and operator, who also is department chair of educational leadership at UNCW’s Watson College of Education.
PHOTO: Marsha Carr, owner/operator 
 
WHQR
ORGANIZATION
: WHQR is a non-profit, member-supported, community-based public radio station, broadcasting from Wilmington. A source for NPR News, WHQR serves southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina with HQR News at 91.3 FM and 98.9 FM, and Classical HQR at 92.7 FM and 102.3 FM.  
UPDATE: In late 2016, WHQR completed a major capital campaign, raising more than $2 million in cash and planned gifts for service and facilities enhancements. In 2017, after the retirement of previous station manager Cleve Callison, the station welcomed new station manager Michelle Rhinesmith, who has since overseen the expansion of Classical HQR into Brunswick County with the acquisition of an additional translator.
PHOTO: Cleve Callison, former station manager  
 
P2P RESCUE (FORMERLEY PRONE2PADDLE)
YEAR FOUNDED
: 2014
EMPLOYEES: 2
COMPANY: P2P Rescue, previously Prone2Paddle, builds rescue boards for various water safety and ocean rescue scenarios.  UPDATE: “In August 2016, P2P pivoted our product line to exclusively focus on designing rescue boards.”
GROWTH AND INNOVATION: in 2016, “lifeguards on the north shore of Oahu reached out to us over social media, encouraging us to visit Hawaii and research ways to incorporate our unique technology into a rescue board. After visiting the guards and listening to their ideas, we found only one surf rescue board design on the world market at that time, and it was constructed from easily damaged and unrepairable material. Our research then led us to explore ways to manufacture a variety of rescue boards with different volumes and lengths.”
PHOTO: Cliff Ray, owner and founder 
 
LAPETUS SOLUTIONS
COMPANY: Lapetus Solutions Inc. uses science and technology to predict life events and estimate an individual’s life expectancy.  
YEAR FOUNDED: 2015  
EMPLOYEES: 17  
UPDATE
: Since being chosen as a CEA winner, Lapetus was selected as one of 24 companies to participate in Plug and Play Tech Center’s 2017 Insurtech Innovation Platform. Lapetus launched its biometric life insurance quoting tool with Legal & General in the UK, and nationwide insurer AFLAC has become a strategic investor.  
TOP THREE TIPS: “1. Work with people you trust implicitly, and better, you respect. 2. Empower every member of the company to make a difference. 3. Have a genuine enjoyment in what you’re doing. Don't work for money.”
PHOTO: Karl Ricanek Jr., co-founder and chief data scientist   
 
LIFEGAIT
COMPANY: Lifegait leverages the Internet of Things, big data and a patented gait technology to detect individuals’ potential health problems.  
YEAR FOUNDED: 2015  
EMPLOYEES: LifeGait: 2; SportGait: 4  
UPDATE: “Since winning the award, we have launched Sportgait, our first subsidiary entity, and have commercialized multiple markets nationwide,” said CEO Chris Newton. “SportGait's growth continues to be fueled by our ever-growing relationship with UNCW as well as multiple local medical providers.” Two reasons for Lifegait technology’s acceptance by the market, according to Newton, are the strength and breadth of its team’s knowledge and its partnership with UNCW and access to the university’s research.
PHOTO: Chris Newton, CEO 
 
LIKELI
COMPANY: Likeli was a mobile app aimed at making social connections. 
YEAR FOUNDED: 2015  
UPDATE: Likeli, which no longer exists, was conceived as an “affinity” app that would allow users to connect with potential dates, friends, roommates or business partners. By using social media histories and simple actions within the app, Likeli software aimed to create a psychometric profile of its users that would give them a more in-depth understanding of a potential match.
PHOTO: George Taylor III, founder   
 
WILMINGTON ORTHOTICS & PROSTHETICS
COMPANY: Wilmington Orthotics & Prosthetics makes and provides orthotics, prosthetics and post-mastectomy products. 
YEAR FOUNDED: 1992, purchased by Mariska Truesdale in 2006 
EMPLOYEES: 8 
UPDATE: Since 2016, “Our patients have increased by a lot because of having the VA Clinic in Wilmington,” Truesdale said, explaining that the clinic refers patients to her company. “We make a lot of diabetic shoes and orthotics.” Another growth area has been on the mastectomy side: breast prostheses and specially fitted bras. The company has added one staff member to help handle increased demand.
PHOTO: Mariska Truesdale
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