Editor’s note: John Warner, a venture capitalist and entrepreneur in Greenville, S.C.,writes about economic development technology in South Carolina. New Carolina is the brand name of the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness.

GREENVILLE, S.C. — New Ideas for New Carolina was launched at InnoVenture 2007 and awards were made last week at the ThinkTEC Innovation Conference. Entries were judged based on three criteria:

• Viability: (makes credible and believable case, is concise and easy to understand, and demonstrates relevant industry knowledge, such as competition, market need, pricing etc.)

• Innovation/Vision: (demonstrates creative thought, revolutionary or new perspective on existing markets and businesses, extraordinary vision for business in South Carolina)

• Profit/Revenue Potential: (satisfies a need in a commercially significant market, demonstrates operational feasibility and/or expertise and/or offers superior alternative to products or services available now from others).

And the 2007 winners are…

THE GRAND PRIZE – $3000

Advanced Materials and Engineering: William Floyd – Environmentally Friendly Fluorochemical Reactant

Versatile technology is being developed to bring the benefits of reactive fluorochemical performance without the environmental problems of current technology

THE FIRESTOKERS – $1500

College: Randi Eaton – Designed by Me Denim

A customizable denim jeans company where people can be measured, pick out colors, styles, and customizable options to create the perfect pair of jeans.

Alternative Fuels: Worth Ketchem – Micro Kinetic Energy Capture

Interconnected energy capture, storage, and release devices aggregated as a scalable and sustainable distributed generation solution.

Automotive: James Poch – Plug-in Hybrid Battery

Manufacture, sell, and install next-generation battery kits that enable hybrid vehicles to be charged from a standard electrical outlet.

Biotech/Medical Devices: Sebastiano Gattoni-Celli – Lou Gehrig’s Vaccine

Immune-based treatment of Lou Gehrig’s disease for transgenic animal models and future human studies

Community Enhancement and Education: Jonathan Brown – Sandlapper Clean Fuels Alliance

The Alliance will create public/ private partnerships to establish clean fuels infrastructure and demonstration projects in South Carolina’s eight coastal counties to overcome the immediate, real-world barriers to the adoption and public availability of alternative fuels.

Creative: Gary Davis – Cineventure South

An organization designed to promote the funding of a dramatic and documentary feature film/video production industry in South Carolina.

Environmental Sustainability: Wayne Loveless – Offshore Renewable Energy

Harnessing the energy of offshore currents and wind with recycled oil platforms fitted with a combination of undersea turbines and windmill power generators.

Security: W. David Findley and Brian Bannister – Electronic Vehicle Tag (E-Tag)

An electronic license plate that give the issuing authority the capability to change the plate display status by a wireless signal, regardless of the vehicle location.

Technology: Josh Staples – Community Tours

Community Tours is a Web 2.0 website which allows members to create and share geotagged audio-tours via a Google Maps interface while using Google’s AdSense to drive spatially appropriate advertising to generate revenue.

Tourism: Dr. Ron Fulbright – Data Spritz

A data spritz is a postage-stamp-sized data storage device affixed to or near a tourist attraction containing textual and graphical information about the attraction and wirelessly transmits the information to a hand-held reader when brought in close proximity.

Wild Card/People’s Choice: Wilson Davis – Aquatic Muscle

A body suit designed to teach children how to swim which allows a child to build up swimming muscles along with confidence to learn to swim at his/her own pace

THE INNOVATORS – $500

Advanced Material and Engineering: Lew Wayburn – Qool Breeze

With the great move of people to the outdoors, we will provide efficient “outdoor comfort” systems, an umbrella with integrated ‘special’ fan with true cooling capability for refuge in heat of the day that doesn’t merely create a hot wind, but a very pleasing “Cool Breeze”, a kind of ‘fan on steroids’.

Technology: Sherri Miller – The Key

A hardware USB device that runs a customized full computer access control over your child’s computer.

Alternative Fuels: Tom Davis – Syngas Hydrogen Recovery

Hydrogen biomass recovery for energy production.

Creativity: Pat Jobe – South Carolina Interactive Innovation Variety Show

An interactive television show combing an 800 phone number and an interactive web site with music and art from South Carolina to promote positive social change in the state.

Environmental Sustainability: Bobby Pilch – Hotelmilieu

The first LEED certified, franchiseable hotel that continuously embraces sustainable operational practices and technology, in order to conserve energy, reduce waste, and achieve bottom-line results for the long-term. [LEED means Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.]

Automotive: Basil Garzia – Vehicle “Go” Light

An indicator light on the front of a vehicle which helps pedestrians, construction workers, safety officers and other motorists in recognizing the forward motion of the vehicle.

Tourism: Dr. Ron Fulbright – Digital Guest Directory

The digital guest directory replaces the standard static printed guest directory in a hotel room with a sheet of ultra-low-power, thin-film, dynamic display technology called digital paper (or electronic ink) that displays up-to-the-minute information to the guest in a way that is indistinguishable from printed text and graphics