2019 Innovation Challenge Winners


Two Young Start-ups Impacting Underserved Industries Win Second Think Dutchess Innovation Challenge

High tech manufacturer, Unlimitted Tomorrow, and app company, Accessadoor, take first and second place in a close competition among cutting edge start-ups and social enterprises.




Last week, four semi-finalists competed in a live pitch competition at Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie, NY. The competitors represented industries from aviation, manufacturing, and the food and beverage sectors. Each presented a ten-minute pitch of unique products and solutions to a panel of well-established investment and business professionals. A cash and services prize package valued at more tha$5,000 was presented to the first and second place winners.

High-tech manufacturing company, Unlimitted Tomorrow, took first prize presenting an impressive initial funding round full of high profile investors and a compelling story of how the 3-D scanned and printed product came to life. The company, which produces 3-D printed Prosthetic limbs was founded by Easton LaChapelle. What began as a fascination with robotics and 3-D printing at age 13, garnered the attention of President Obama and backer, Tony Robbins. Today, 23 year old LaChapelle and Unlimited Tomorrow create an affordable solution for limb-loss patients using 3-D printing and scanning technology. After a successful crowd-sourced funding campaign, the company is ready to start production and pitched judges to assist in the process.

“This is a really exciting event to be a part of,” said LaChapelle of winning first prize in the Innovation Challenge. “It’s great to see Think Dutchess bring so many start-ups together and see the community support them like this.”

Local Dutchess Community College grad and Marist College student, Dana Jones of Accessadoor took home second prize showcasing her smartphone application. Born with a rare physical disability, Dana’s experience led her to solve her own challenges. Jones pitched a product to replace the technology in “blue-button” handicapped doors. Using impressive beta partners and showing a strong go-to-market strategy, Accessadoor was close second place winner.

“This has been a great experience,” said Jones of the coaching and support preparing for the Innovation Challenge. “I’m a Dutchess County native and want my business to start and stay here. Opportunities like this make that possible.”

Veteran owned and female-led aviation manufacturer, United Aircraft Technologies and local gluten-free restaurant, Earth, Wind and Fuego presented compelling pitches as well. Showcasing a novel solution to an aviation clamp the would reduce total aircraft weight, save companies millions of dollars in fuel costs, and increase worker safety and efficiency- UAT is bound for success and is certainly a company to watch. Additionally, local gluten-free restaurant, Earth, Wind and Fuego was a crowd favorite with their innovative social enterprise approach to solving employment issues for those encountering boundaries to employment.

“It was a really close race. The contestants this year really gave compelling pitches for some incredible products and services,” said Sarah Lee, CEO of Think Dutchess. “The Innovation Challenge was designed to encourage startups to plan their enterprises better and engage with local and regional support services. So, it’s exciting to see the number of entrepreneurs here in Dutchess ready to take advantage of these opportunities.”


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Contact Information:

Rachel Welch

Think Dutchess Alliance for Business




About Think Dutchess Alliance for Business

A business-led, nationally recognized economic development corporation, Think Dutchess’ mission is to attract, retain, and expand for-profit and not-for-profit businesses in Dutchess County. Think Dutchess’ organizational structure includes programs in business retention, expansion and attraction; financial counseling and deal structuring; zoning and permitting; commercial real estate; innovation and technology; strategic marketing and municipal advocacy. For more information about Think Dutchess Alliance for Business, visit www.thinkdutchess.com

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