Bradley University’s Turner Center for Entrepreneurship is ready to launch 10 teams through its inaugural business accelerator program. And if last night’s full house for the Brave Launch kick-off celebration was any indication of what’s to come, it’s apparent that there’s quite a bit of energy around this brand new initiative.

The Brave Launch program entails 7 weeks of classroom activity and business model development designed to assist entrepreneurs accelerate their business through innovative curriculum and real world interaction. The applicants that were selected came from a variety of backgrounds: startups, small businesses, corporate innovation teams, Bradley University students and faculty.

Attending the event were entrepreneurs, educators, investors, and specialists ready to work together for the common goal of accelerating area businesses. Dr. Darrell Radson, the Dean of the Foster College of Business would offer a few words of advice to the groups, “This takes dedication, courage, and a need to recognize when to pivot. Again, congratulations, good luck and Lydia Moss Bradley would be very, very, proud of you.”

As the teams were introducing themselves and their wide-ranging ideas one trend became noticeable – all were equally excited to begin, but all were also equally ready to receive guidance or pivot on their idea if and when necessary.

After all is said and done, the teams will be stating their case for future funding rounds in front of potential investors. Attollo Social Capital, Central Illinois Angels, CAT Ventures, OSF Ventures, M25 Group, and Serra Ventures will all be in attendance for the final pitches on November 10th.

bravelaunchkickoff3Here’s a look at who’s involved with the 2016 Brave Launch Business Accelerator:

The Mentors

  • Ted Greene
  • Ben Hafele
  • Dané Johnson
  • Philip Lockwood
  • John McKee
  • Denise Moore
  • David Park
  • Myank Tanejaa
  • Doug Wright
  • Steve Zika


The Advisers

  • Dennis Beard
  • Randy Blanton
  • Cassie Boorn
  • Robin Fahlberg
  • Greg Gerontes
  • Victor Gutwein
  • Tim Hoerr
  • Stan Lynall
  • Kip McCoy
  • Collin Schaefer
  • Chelsie Tamms
  • Matt Warrens

bravelaunchkickoff5The Teams

Eat & Evolve | East Peoria, IL – Gabriela Morin, Erick Scarpone, Ernesto Inoa & Abigael Morris
A nutrition-focused company that is the first and only healthy meal delivery service in the Peoria area delivering freshness, quality and convenience to achieve continuous customer satisfaction.

Golf Score Changer | Clinton, IL – David Henrik, Janet Henrik & Justin Witten
An innovative company working to help improve the game of golf with simple solutions for any level golfer.

Natural Fiber Welding | Peoria, IL – Luke Haverhals, Spencer Null & Michael Molter
Technology company focused on the production and manufacture of sustainable materials that outperform petroleum-based analogues for applications ranging from building materials to wearable electronics.

Notionovus | Morton, IL – Brian Anderson, Jay Looney & Kevin Evans
Technology company building a software platform for democratizing middleware. It is expected to drastically reduce information technology costs.

OSF Healthcare | Peoria, IL – Brent Cross, Christopher Zalek, Sarah Metzger, Courtney Pilat & David Park
Multi-disciplinary team from OSF Healthcare developing a user-friendly medical device capable of providing a near real-time quantitative measure of strength in patients suffering from ALS, while also being suitable for providing telehealth consults to rural physicians.

PopXFit | Peoria, IL – Amanda Michel, Carissa Bisnar & Kristine Freeman
Fitness focused company transforming the lives of individuals by redefining exercise as fun, affordable, convenient, and accessible.

SAE | Peoria, IL – Larrice Dukes, Shon Allen & Satina Rebollar
A magazine publishing company that is shaping and equipping the minds of the future generation, by strategically promoting biblical principles and influencing readers to pursue, discover and fulfill their purpose.

The Oakford Group | Peoria, IL – Andrew Champion & Jana Bruesch
Founded by licensed physical therapists, The Oakford Group, LLC, has created a home exercise product designed to provide quality manual therapy treatment techniques that were once only available in the therapy clinic.

The Pizza Peel | Lacon, IL – Travis Guthman, Kyelnn Guthman, Molly Strong & Amanda LeQuia
A family-owned pizza restaurant with great customer focus and regional recognition, offering dine-in, carry-out and delivery of hand crafted, fresh pizzas.

Weightmaster | Peoria, IL – Brian Roskuszka & Jair Robinson
Fitness focused team developing an innovative device that allows gym users to quickly break through plateaus and increase strength using a wide variety of gym equipment. The system will enable gyms to increase their member retention and draw in new members.

bravelaunchkickoff4This article was created in collaboration with Bradley University Turner Center for Entrepreneurship.