Local News

Published on July 3rd, 2023 | by TLV News


Oxford CoBuilders Winners Announced

The Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation in partnership with the University of Mississippi recently announced the winners of the 2nd Annual Oxford CoBuilders Business Pitch Competition.  The competition, held Wednesday June 28 at the UM Innovation Hub at Insight Park, featured seven entrepreneurial teams pitching to a judging panel of local business owners.  

The local competition acted as a qualifying event for this fall’s statewide CoBuilders business accelerator led by Innovate Mississippi. Companies selected for the statewide program will be identified through their participation in one of seven regional pitch competitions that have been held in Clarksdale, Starkville, Jackson, Vicksburg, Hattiesburg, Biloxi, and now Oxford.

Oxford’s first place team, and the winner of a $7,500 cash prize, went to Navigator Medical, LLC. Founders Kenna Pruitt, Kade Frisby, Emily Kerivan, and Jordan Kocsis formed their medial device company as a student based business in the Spring of 2023. The team of biomedical engineers, assisted by the University of Mississippi’s newly formed Center for Diagnostics, Design, Devices, & Biomechanics, developed a needle placement guide, called The Compass, in an effort to bring relief to dialysis patients.  

Second place was awarded to Lamar Gordon, Stan Flint, George Cumbest, and Derek Norsworthy of Journez by NarraTrip. Journez is an AI-enhanced, voice-guided travel application designed to connect users to cultural assets in the hospitality tourism industry.  Third place was awarded to Matt and September Gray at Hat Boy Software, Inc. for their plan to bring innovative AI powered automated code generation to the tech industry.  

All seven companies participating in the competition received pre-pitch business coaching and access to development resources through partners at the Mississippi Small Business Development Center, Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation, UM Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, UM Office of Technology Commercialization, and Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.  

“We are so appreciative to all our competitors and mentors as this event turned out to be a hit.  It was a wonderful celebration of our innovative community spirit,” said Allen Kurr, Vice President of the Economic Development Foundation. “We are looking forward to seeing all these companies grow and supporting them through the entrepreneurial development process.”

For more information on CoBuilders and Economic Development, contact Allen Kurr (662)234-4651, allen@oxfordms.com or visit www.cobuilders.ms.

About the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation

The mission of the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation (EDF) is to be a leader in creating opportunities for responsible economic investment, thereby raising the per capita income for all citizens of Lafayette County. In support of this the EDF is committed to being responsive to local business and industry, being a responsible vehicle to preserve a positive business environment in the area, facilitating technology transfer at the University of Mississippi into the community, and by supporting other positive community efforts which improve the quality of life and yield economic benefits. For more information on the EDF, visit www.oxfordms.com or call 662-234-4651.

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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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