CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Ten companies are competing for more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind services as part of the annual “Five Ventures” business plan competition that is put on by the Charlotte Research Institute.

The companies will present business plans to some 25 judges on March 21. Five finalists will be selected to present their ideas and plans at the Five Ventures Summit on April 12.

“The Five Ventures Business Plan Competition and Conference serves as the catalyst program linking the business, technology, academic and entrepreneurial communities within the Charlotte region, said Robert Wilhelm, the Institute’s executive director. “Local entrepreneurs have an excellent opportunity to gain the mentorship, guidance, cash and the services necessary to build their dream businesses.”

The companies, with summaries provided by the Research Institute, are:

• Accunetix: Has created an affordable, highly sensitive molecular diagnostic technology that is relevant for a wide range of healthcare applications including testing for infectious diseases (HIV, HCV, HBV, TB, malaria) and cancer.

• Acphazin: A biopharmaceutical company, it is developing therapeutic products for treating cancer and other diseases.

• Advanced Access: has developed of the “ParkIT” – a fully customizable system that integrates the latest in wireless, video and IT technologies to help manage parking flow where space is limited.

• A-Metrics LLC: Has developed a new sensor technology that utilizes a patented method to track slight changes in pressure, temperature, humidity and the ability to record vibration frequencies in the sonar, seismic, and vocal ranges. Current applications include a more reliable detection of breast cancer, increased sensitivity of sonar devices, voice recognition and corrosive pipelines.

• HepatoSys Inc.: Has developed technology that restores the function of donor livers for use in transplantation and evaluates the integrity of donor livers prior to initiation of the recipient operation.

• Kiyatec: The firm reduces the time and cost associated with pre-clinical drug discovery by developing and commercializing diagnostics that improve the correlation between lab-based results and clinical patient response.

• M7 Studios LLC: Is focused on the design, development, validation, and production of affordable automotive safety technology. M7 Studios technology aims to reduce collisions by enabling detection of imminent collisions electronically, and to warn the driver in time to avert a crash.

• Pic-It: Has developed an independent stand alone public-operated photograph system that allows individuals to take a high quality “group photos” of their party at scenic locations.

• SellItAtSchool: Has established a Web site that empowers students, faculty and staff to resell supplies such as textbooks, study guides and equipment.

• TMS Laboratory, LLC (doing business as Blue Ocean Foods): Has created a new high-quality great-tasting bread product that eliminates unhealthy fructose, sweeteners, saturated fats and high salt content.

The Charlotte Research Institute is part of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Sponsors include: Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte; Charlotte Research Institute; Office of Technology Transfer at UNC Charlotte; Castle & Cooke, Inc.; Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice; Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson; Hammer & Hanf, PC; Duke Energy; City of Charlotte Economic Development; Carolinas Healthcare System; Fisher Family Foundation; Grant Thornton, LLC; The Business Law Advisors; North Carolina Biotechnology Center; Foodman Hunter & Karres, PLLC; Qualcomm; Summa, Allan & Additon, PA; and the SBTDC of North Carolina.

Service Providers include: Business Wire; Emerging Strategies PLLC; Business, Innovation and Growth (BIG) Council; Enventys; Frontier Capital LLC; Group H Advisors; Council for Economic Development; McCrory & Company; Peak 10 and Tillman Wright, PLLC