WUFT News

Gainesville entrepreneurs reach next phase of $25,000 grant contest

By on March 12th, 2014
Trevor Abbott(bottom right), co-founder of Spin Chill, spoke to students at Gulf Middle School and Gulf High School in New Port Richey, Fla., in November 2013 about Spin Chill products. Abbott and Parker visited the schools for the Great  American Teach-In, a day where business leaders and community members inform students.

Aizey Pineda / Spin Chill

Trevor Abbott(bottom right), co-founder of Spin Chill, spoke to students at Gulf Middle School and Gulf High School in New Port Richey, Fla., in November 2013 about Spin Chill products. Abbott and Parker visited the schools for the Great American Teach-In, a day where business leaders and community members inform students.

It started with a drill and a can of beer.

Now a pair of Gainesville entrepreneurs are among a group of 100 in a national contest sponsored by Fedex for small business grants.

Trevor Abbott and Ty Parker created Spin Chill, a pocket-sized, waterproof device that rapidly cools a canned or bottled drink in less than a minute by spinning it in ice.

Spin Chill, which operates out of Parker’s garage, is the only North-Central Florida business in the contest. The duo have sold more than 3,000 devices since launching the company in May 2013.

Contest winners receive $25,000; more 5,000 businesses applied for the grant. People vote for the top-100 businesses by liking them on Facebook. There were over 1.4 million votes cast in this year’s contest, according to FedEx’s website.

“It’s awesome to be in the Top 100,” Abbott said. “More than anything, it’s the support of people in Gainesville who were willing to vote for us.”

Abbott said he and Parker would use the contest money to improve their marketing strategies, including a better retail packaging, if they won.

Ten grant winners will be announced on March 24, according to FedEx’s website.

Daniel Sarkis, vice president and co-founder of Sarkis Investments, mentored Abbott and Parker during the creation of Spin Chill.

Sarkis met the pair in 2013 at the HackerHouse, a local organization that gives entrepreneurs resources and tools to develop their products, he said.

“People are interested because they’ve blended technology with elements of a party scene,” Daniel Sarkis said.

He said he thinks Spin Chill has been successful because Abbott and Parker have reached an untapped market.

“They have a great entrepreneurial vision, and they make a really great team together,” Sarkis said.

Sarkis believes the FedEx contest benefits small-business owners because the grant enables companies to develop their brands and gain notoriety.

“It’s been phenomenal to watch the business grow and be around their energy and innovativeness,” he said.

Nicole Snow, founder of Darn Good Yarn, a company dedicated to producing recycled-silk yarn products, won the grant contest in 2013.

Snow said the money enabled her to expand. Before the grant, she was able to provide 250 colors of yarn, and now she has 1,700.

“It’s conscientious capitalism at its finest,” Snow said.

Darn Good Yarn, which is based in Maine, helps women in Nepal and India become financially independent by employing them as yarn spinners. The company created jobs for more than 300 families, she said.

Snow said she had people reach out to her during the contest process who said her company inspired them to start their own business. She said she attributes this to the exposure companies receive through their Facebook pages during the contest voting process.

“People want to see you succeed,” Snow said. “People root for small businesses.”

 


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

IMG_1999

Tornado Damages Homes Near Ocala Monday

More than 50 homes were damaged in two separate neighborhoods southwest of Ocala Monday afternoon as severe thunderstorms rolled through.


Cars drive past the filled-in potholes and cracks. Permanent road repairs are not expected until after July 2016. Ronnie Socash / WUFT News

No Immediate Fix for SW 62nd Boulevard Road Conditions

Despite continual repairs to Southwest 62nd Boulevard, commuters will still have to drive along the road’s potholes and “alligator cracks” until it is reconstructed in 2016. Once a project development and environment study is completed, the city of Gainesville can work on a $45.2 million project that will turn Southwest 62nd Boulevard from a two-lane road into a four-lane road.


UF football player JC Jackson was arrested yesterday for his involvement in an armed Robbery on Saturday.  He is currently in the ASO jail on a $150,000 bond.

UF Football Player Arrested After Armed Robbery, Released On $150,000-Bond

University of Florida football player J.C. Jackson has been released on $150,000-bond. Jackson was arrested Monday after turning himself in for his involvement in an armed robbery.


Scott Camil, 68, points to a cartoon depicting himself and other members of the Gainesville Eight at their trial. The original cartoon was given to him by the artist, Bill Day. The Gainesville Eight was the name given to a group of anti-Vietnam war protestors charged with conspiracy to disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami.

Vietnam War Veteran Rejects Violence, Embraces Peace

Vietnam War veteran Scott Camil once believed the war to be right and honorable. Now, Camil is the founder of Gainesville Veterans for Peace, an organization that partners with other organizations around the area to promote peace.


David Cleveland sits outside his tent in Dignity Village near Grace Marketplace Tuesday, March 10, 2015. Cleveland's campsite is located on a 10 acre span of land that the city of Gainesville will lease from the state.

City Aquires Land Surrounding GRACE Marketplace

The city is finalizing an agreement to use 10 acres of land currently occupied by Dignity Village homeless encampment which could create a more regulated environment.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments