Kricker Innovation Hub’s Ignite Portsmouth awards $5,000 to aspiring entrepreneurs


PORTSMOUTH — Shawnee State University’s Kricker Innovation Hub (KIH) hosted their second annual Ignite Portsmouth Entrepreneurship Boot Camp and Pitch Competition at the end of last month. Seven aspiring entrepreneurs took part in the eight-week boot camp to receive support towards launching their business ideas.

“Last year, we started Ignite Portsmouth virtually during the height of the pandemic,” said David Kilroy, Director of SSU’s KIH. “Because we hosted the program in person this year, we could expand our programming and bring in new expertise.”

Through multiple hands-on sessions, participants learned how to utilize the business model canvas, advance their skills in marketing their products and services, and received assistance in crafting a business pitch. The boot camp wrapped up with its Business Pitch Competition in front of a panel of judges on Jun. 30. Sponsorship from the Tri-State Angel Investment Group and partnerships with TechGROWTH Ohio, SSU, and the ECDI Women’s Business Center of Central Appalachia at SSU, supported the event and provided cash prizes for the top five business pitches. The program was also made possible thanks to support from the Appalachian Regional Commission

In fifth place, winning $350 was Sonya Frey and Mary McFarland, while Trampas Nolan and Trevor Bihl took fourth place and won $400. Candy Frazier took third place and a $500 prize for her business, By Grace Interior Design. Abby Spears placed second, winning $1,000, for her idea of social enterprise dedicated to changing the narrative concerning substance abuse in the region. Claiming first place and the grand prize of $2,000 was SSU student Ben Shinkle for his business idea to expand regional metal and wire recycling.

“It was wonderful to continue this program for the second straight year, in person, and see a new group of future entrepreneurs become equipped with the skills they need to succeed,” said Derrick Parker, Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator for the KIH.

The Kricker Innovation Hub is a regional leader in entrepreneurship and innovation whose mission is to help businesses and entrepreneurs grow and bring their ideas to tomorrow’s market. To learn more about the services offered by the Kricker Innovation Hub at Shawnee State University, visit

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