The last week in August was stellar for Wareologie.
I am proud to report that despite stiff competition – Wareologie was awarded a $20,000 grant from Start Garden Demo Day 100 on August 27 at 20 Monroe Live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
It began last spring, when a fellow female entrepreneur, Stacey Feeley of Sili Kids recommended looking into Start Garden. “Thank you Stacey!” I had to film a 30 second video directly on the Start Garden website (no editing allowed). I was happy we initially made it past the first screening and out of 776 applicants were one of just 100 selected to participate. Out of those 100, only 10 were eligible to win.
I grew up just south of Grand Rapids in Middleville and went to high school at East Kentwood so I was excited to return home and compete in GR.
This was not your traditional stage “pitch” where you have to present to a bunch of intimidating judges and large crowd. This was more like a trade show with a lively, party atmosphere. We had a 6×6’ space to present our wares. (pun intended).
We just went into production in August and are preparing to exhibit at our first tradeshows so the venue was ideal. It pushed my team to think outside the box and determine the best way to “wow” the judges who strolled through the event visiting each booth.
We have a unique challenge with our brand. Our company name is Ware·ologie. We develop “hardware” to restore independence and empower people facing dexterity challenges. We intentionally spelled our name with an “ie” for independence and empowerment.
Our first product to market is Buttons 2 Button Magnetic Adapters. It’s hard enough marketing one name let alone two. We’ve learned some tough lessons while on the field, running with the football. We are adapters, so we are learning the lessons attempting to lessen the confusion around who we are and what we do.
All our hard work paid off and we are beyond thrilled to report we were selected 1 out of 10 grand prize winners! This is a truly needed cash injection to help us go to market and reach our customers!
But this does more than just fill our coffers. The recognition demonstrates company vitality and instills confidence in our partners. I am hoping this opens the doors to new opportunities for future funding because the reality is, starting a company takes capital. And before the revenue starts flowing, we need support by foundations and individuals to cover startup costs.
This win was huge for us because it is monetary validation that we are on the right path!