KERNERSVILLE,Six companies based in the Triad walked away with $1,500 prizes in the first round of the Triad Entrepreneurial Initiative’s annual business competition.

The “Spark” Business Conception round is the first of three sponsored by TEI. The second round is called Verge. The Spark winners were announced Monday.

TEI is to become part of a new entrepreneurial group in the Triad called the Piedmont Triad Entrepreneurial Network. It will also include the Piedmont Entrepreneurial Network.

Winners and the principal of each firm were:

  • Algaen II Corporation, Fan Lu of Forsyth County. Algaen is a biotechnology company, exploiting and utilizing microalgae to develop, produce and market cutting-edge nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products for improving human health. The firm leverages its unique product development capabilities and proprietary manufacture technologies to commercialize high value dietary supplements, fine chemicals and therapeutic compounds.

  • C Change Surgical LLC, Patrick Kammer of Forsyth County. It is a medical device development company that produces problem-solving and cost-saving medical devices for growth markets.

  • Clear Defense, Tonya Cockman of Guilford County. The company has developed technology to not only strengthen glass, but also retain shattered glass, safeguarding people and property. Through patented applications, ClearDefense offers laminates and adhesives that enhance the safety of athletes and spectators, while reducing the risk exposure and liability of facility owners. Its systems prevent NCAA and NBA backboards, NHL arena glass, NASCAR windshields and National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) gym backboards from shattering. Its systems also safeguard Wal-Mart distribution centers across the nation and the windows at the Pentagon, as well as other military and government buildings.

  • ImmunQuest, Eric Button of Forsyth County. The company has developed platform technology that allows for the rapid diagnosis of a variety of diseases. It is based on the measurement of antibodies that are produced early in the immune response to many diseases. Based on the detection of these antibodies, blood tests are being developed that can detect these disease states more rapidly than conventional tests.

  • Rule Radio, Sam Funchess of Guilford County. The company is an online radio station catering to artists and individuals seeking independent music that is currently unavailable to them in local markets. Listeners have multiple choices of radio formats. It is a commercial-free destination with the added ability to purchase any song they hear. Rule Radio helps independent artists control the distribution of their music by allowing them to upload their songs.

  • Transportation System Solutions, LLC (TSS), Darryl Heffline of Guilford County.The company is a transportation systems design and manufacturing firm that offers creative solutions to traditional transportation problems. It is the maker of CoreTough honeycomb composite panels, a lightweight, high impact resistant, rust and corrosion-proof transportation vehicle construction material. TSS is also the exclusive North American distributor of the Austrian made AHT Lift Gate line. TSS is the manufacturer of the Quantum line of mobile storage units.
  • Receiving honorable mentions were: Medication Management Partners, LLC; Nostok; Students for Principled Government; and Travel Mania.

    “We are extremely pleased with the variety of industries represented in this year’s Spark competition,” said Sheila Lyons, executive director of TEI, in a statement. “Entries ranged from biotech to arts and entertainment to transportation.”

    Deadline for entering the Verge round is Dec. 12. For details, see: