Purdue Northwest Announce Winners for The PNW Big Sell

May 2, 2020

The Purdue University Northwest College of Business and the College of Technology successfully held the final pitches in The PNW Big Sell competition live on May 2, 2020, where the top three winners were announced.

Troy Smith from Crown Point, Indiana, owner of The Layman Bench, is a returning contestant from last year and was awarded first place along with a $10,000 for his business. Troy Smith, who is a Personal Trainer, created a business model intended to make triceps and biceps training more fun for bodybuilders. The business has also partnered with Purdue University on a safety agreement and operates a fabrication shop out of Naperville, Illinois. Smith plans to direct sales and demonstrate at gyms, schools and centrally located group shows.

Second place went to Emily Edwards of Schererville, Indiana, founder of Emily’s Foods, who was awarded $5,000 for her plant-based Paradise snack and Paradise icing. Edwards said “In 2015 during my own weight loss journey I was making muffins out of whey protein powder, and I wanted a frosting or icing to pair with that.” Thus, she began working with Purdue Food Science Lab at West Lafayette on her product ideas and began marketing Paradise to millennial mothers.

Dr. Paul Sommer received third place and $2,500 for The Sock Tower a revolutionary designed medical device that helps solve an age-old problem of swelling in the legs. Dr. Paul was one of the first certified room care specialists in Northwest Indiana. Dr. Paul also enjoys fundraising for endurance sports and has been named a United Way Community Hero.

This year’s event, under the direction of Mont Handley, Associate Director of the Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center, and Alexandra Moran, Clinical Instructor of Entrepreneurship at PNW, was streamed live from WJOB but hosted on Zoom due to CoVID-19 precautions.

The 12 finalists each delivered a six-minute pitch via Zoom to a three-member panel of judges made up of local entrepreneurs Heather Ennis, Robert Johnson, and Renee Connelly.

“If there was any piece of feedback that I could provide is that have a clear vision of where you would like to go,” said judge Robert Johnson. “Now I know that some of you are still trying to pull together exactly some of the details of your product and manufacturing but still working out kind of a rough draft or product of what you would like to see will help you work backward in some of the decision you need to make”.

The PNW Big Sell final pitch competition can be viewed on-demand at www.jedtv.com.