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First Furman GVL Starts program complete

Two men flank black woman.
Furman Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship's Anthony Herrera and Bryan Davis flank Jennifer Spears. Photo: Bright+Co Marketers.

Furman University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship wrapped its inaugural GVL Starts, an an eight-week program where participants learn the ropes to launching a business venture. It culminated in a “Shark Tank”-style competition on Oct. 7 in which businesses competed for a total of $15,000 in grants. Out of a cohort of 25 entrepreneurs, six finalists competed for technology and product-service grants, and the others contended for crowd favorite.

In the technology category, Eric Cooperman won for his business Bottle Titan, a beverage monitoring product to curb beer and wine spoilage. Dionne Standiford won in the product/service category for Comfort Cover, a blanket with an integrated pillow for daycares, disaster relief kits and childcare. Winning the crowd favorite award was Jennifer Spears’ The African Violet, a self-care and stress relief company in the business of herbal teas, bath products and massage therapy. The Post and Courier covered the event.

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