Brave Launch Concludes With Funding, Ideas for Local Startups

Nov 9, 2017

Credit Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Seven entrepreneurs made their pitches to investors for the final day of Brave Launch at Bradley University Thurs.

The two-month business accelerator program is designed to help startups grow and flourish in Peoria. The startups included concepts for products and nonprofits.

The winning product in the “business model” category is already on the market. But founder and owner of Bandits, Sydney Frietsch, says regardless, the Brave Launch was a boon for her fledgling business.

“Walking away from this is definitely a gain. I have so many more contacts now, I have a plan for what to do next, my marketing plan. I want to get my bandit out in the world. I want everyone to know what a bandit is, just like everybody knows what a Kleenex is.”

Miriam Rocke (left) and Sydney Frietsch model their product, Bandits, before pitching to investors Thurs.
Credit Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Ring bandits are spandex wristbands with a pouch for small objects, like jewelry or medications. Frietsch says she came up with the idea when her friend complained she didn’t have a place to put her wedding ring while exercising.

BU’s Turner Center for Entrepreneurship and the Illinois Small Business Development Center host the intensive, which includes classroom training and mentorship.

“I think this is important because all the teams are local, and during the almost two months they get the help from people, and more education on how to get their business going,” Eliska Petrova, is a senior consulting project coordinator and graduate assistant at the Foster College of Business, said.

Petrova says the entrepreneurs also receive support on how to successfully pitch to investors and how to use startup funding to grow their concepts.

Brave Launch Winners:

  • People’s Choice: Mobile Mount
  • Best Business Model: Bandits
  • Best Pitch: Mobile Mount
  • Best Pivot: Digital Dipstick