INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
This award is given to the business flourishing in an innovative industry or approaching entrepreneurship in a groundbreaking manner via their products or services.
Interventional Nephrology Specialists Access Center
Type of business: Interventional nephrology center
Co-Founder: Dr. Omar Davis
Co-Founder: Dr. Natarsha Grant
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Launched in 2007, Dr. Omar Davis and Natarsha Grant run an interventional nephrology center which provides patients suffering from kidney failure the necessary medical treatment and technology. Interventional nephrologists like Davis, 37, and Grant, 42, play a crucial role in helping patients who have undergone hemodialysis—drawing blood so it can be cleaned of toxins and then returned to the body. The Memphis-based facility services about 2,400 patients each year. The company estimates topping $6.5 million by year-end.
Frustrated with uncooperative shoelaces, Eric Jackson invented Lock Laces, a patented elastic shoelace fastening system. Finding a core demographic, kids, seniors and the physically challenged, the company has seen steady revenue growth over the last three years and brought in $500,000 in 2010. Jackson established Street Smart LLC in 1999; the 42-year-old says customer service is a major factor in building the company’s brand awareness. With sales in excess of 250,000 units last year, the laces, which retail for $4.95, are gradually making their way into global markets including England.
With haphazard hands when it came to home repair, 35-year-old Andre Woolery eventually developed and patented the Magno Grip magnetic wristband in 2005. Designed to fit on the wrist comfortably, a magnetic strip within the band holds on all drill bits, nails and minor tools while do-it-yourselfers get the job done. The band along with a line of magnetic tool accessories is sold at several large retailers across the nation including Lowe’s, Home Depot and a test launch in 80 Wal-mart stores this summer. Last year, Woolery estimated he’s sold over 400,000 units since launching the product and earned revenues of more than $1 million in sales.