November’s 5×5 Night featured proposals from five entrepreneurs forging innovative businesses and products in West Michigan, from a game system designed to teach children the basics of arithmetic, to a vertical, hydroponic greenhouse that would source food to West Michigan restaurants.
Melanie Koops presented on behalf of Werth Rack, the company that took home the $5,000 prize for their solution to the hospital walker storage. The Werth Rack storage system presents an alternative to the current rehab equipment storage system (which is widely used and wildly ineffective) by cutting cost to both patients and hospitals while reducing storage space by 50 percent. Koops and her business partner plan to use the $5,000 to secure space in catalogs and trade shows in order to get their product in front of their customers.
Glen E. Swanson presented for Dimple Math, a game designed to teach math to elementary school age children by combining tables into a self-correcting jigsaw puzzle. Patrick Adams presented on behalf of Harvest Garden, a startup aiming to build a vertical, hydroponic greenhouse in downtown Grand Rapids that will meet the demand for locally sourced food year round. Stephen Wooden presented for the Grand Rapids Food Co-Op Initiative, which is seeking to create an affordable, centrally located, membership-based grocery store in Grand Rapids. Rounding out the presenters was Nikki Thompson Frazier, owner-operator of Sweet Encounters Bakery and Cafe, a bakery that specializes in gourmet vegan and gluten free baked goods.