photo by Catapult
Florida Polytechnic University hosted this year’s LAUNCH pitch night.

Catapult’s 2019 Micro-Grant Winners

From local coffee shops, to clothing designers, to artists, Lakeland loves small businesses. Bringing an idea to life requires money — more money than most up-and-coming entrepreneurs have access to. This is why Catapult started their Launch Micro-Grant.

   “Launch” is a community-based effort led and funded by local financial institutions that aim to enable entrepreneurs to make their ideas a reality. Launch provides micro-grants up to $10,000 to eligible applicants who successfully pitch their concepts to the investment team. Since the beginning of the grant, there have been six pitch nights, $123,521 funded, and 13 grants awarded. This year’s winners featured a wide range of ideas, from handcrafted bread and pastries to mental health solutions.

   Jordan Douglass, a Florida Polytech student, was awarded for his concept of a cloud-based platform, SynapCare, designed to track a user’s brain waves to make detection and monitoring of mental illnesses readily available to both patients and mental health professionals. Bruce Hicks, another Florida Polytech student, was awarded for his idea for combat innovation. Hicks wants to create automatic release tourniquet technology sewn into the uniforms of military personnel upon detection of an injury. Andre Ripley and Jordan Sarnecky, also from Florida Polytech, were awarded for their creation of Instalist, a device that captures, scans, and lists items for digital selling in under 30 seconds. Arguably the sweetest of them all, Benjamin Vickers was awarded for his creation of Honeycomb Bread, a bakery focused on providing Lakelanders with a local source of handcrafted bread and pastry.