RCGA head Reagan to speak at annual Olin Cup awards

Marking his first day as CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association (RCGA), Joe Reagan will discuss “Innovation & Entrepreneurship: Creating the Future Economy” during the annual Olin Cup awards ceremony beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1, in Simon Hall’s May Auditorium on Washington University in St. Louis’ Danforth Campus.

Hosted by the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, the presentation and awards ceremony is free and open to the public.

Seven finalists from an original field of 40 are vying for $70,000 in seed money to start their own company, $50,000 to the first place finisher and $20,000 for second place.

Three of the remaining teams are student-supported and in the running for an additional $5,000 student prize.

“We are honored that Joe will be joining us on his first day at the RCGA,” says Ken Harrington, managing director of the Skandalaris Center. “Many exciting things are happening to support the entrepreneurial environment in St. Louis, including Joe’s move here, the new Arch Grants program, Capital Innovators and Startup Missouri. We are looking forward to hearing from Joe, welcoming him to Washington University and to announcing this year’s winning teams.”

Reagan begins his duties Feb. 1 as CEO of the RCGA. He succeeds Dick Fleming, who led the organization since 1994. Reagan has been president and CEO of the Greater Louisville Inc.-Metro Chamber of Commerce since 2005.

He has more than 20 years of practitioner and CEO experience in private sector initiatives in community and economic development, public policy, and regional strategy and community problem-solving.

Prior to his leadership roles in community and economic development, Reagan worked in the business side of radio and was an entrepreneur, heading a marketing firm.

Following Reagan’s presentation, each team will make a 90-second elevator pitch. After the winners’ announcement, the audience will have the opportunity to meet the teams and learn more about their ventures at a poster board session and reception.

This year’s finalists are (* indicates student-owned or student-supported venture):
• Edthena, developing a video improvement platform for educators;
• Eyelton Therapeutics, developing therapies to treat age-related macular degeneration;
• *Freiezo LLC, a company developing high-efficiency distributed wind energy systems;
• HomeNav by Sustaining Spaces, an online homeowners manual and resource guide;
• *Inclusion Sports, which has developed a new sport called Bulletball, allowing everyone to participate and compete on a level playing field;
• *Loadmaster Toolkit, which enables Air Force loadmasters to manage aircraft payload and passengers; and
• SoMoLend, a web-based peer-to-peer lending company.

The Olin Cup was created as a cross-campus activity in 1988 by Olin Business School, and has awarded funding to winning commercial ventures since 2003.

The competition is sponsored by the RCGA; RubinBrown; Lopata, Flegel & Company LLP; Polsinelli Shughart; St. Louis Commerce Magazine; and Olin Business School.

To register for the event, visit ideabounce.com/skandalaris/events. For more information on the Olin Cup, visit sc.wustl.edu/Programs/Pages/OlinCup.aspx.