Solatech, which provides software for the window covering industry, received the $50,000 top prize in the Triad Entrepreneurial Council’s FUEL competition.

But Solatech gets more than cash. Its owner, Ray Soltis, receives 12 months of mentoring from the TEI. The company also gets free incubator space for its office in either the Winston-Salem Babcock Demon Incubator or the Greensboro Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurs.

In all, 26 companies entered the business plan competition.

“TEI is pleased to see the diversity of businesses represented in this year’s top six winners,” said Sheila Lyons, executive director of the TEI. “We had biotechnology, manufacturing, service and technology. These companies have well-planned business strategies, sound financial projections and all the elements for success.”

EcoGenomix, a company focused on detecting the presence of biological and chemical warfare agents, took second place. That prize is worth $20,000 and also includes mentoring services and free incubator space.

Down-The-Line Concepts, which has developed a new putter and putting technique, received third place. That package includes $10,000 in cash plus six months of mentoring and incubator space.

Source Horizons, a developer of web-based software designed to link buyers and suppliers of made-to-order parts, took fourth place. The company will receive six months of mentoring and incubator space.

Fifth and sixth place went to Squirrel Defense Initiative and CutRateSmokes.com respectively. Each firm receives six months of mentoring.

The FUEL contest followed the Spark and Verge competitions.

TEI’s next round on contests gets underway soon. Deadline for business plan submission for the next SPARK competition is Sept. 21.

TEI: www.triadlaunchpad.org