Caregiver Platform Paid.Care Wins Idea Competition: Duke Energy grants Climate Resiliency Award to Sheep Wool Pellets
The Mill, Bloomington’s nonprofit center for entrepreneurship, announced two winners of the Crossroads Idea Competition, held December 20, 2023. JR Ricker, Co-founder & CEO of Paid.Care, won for his innovative caregiver payment platform. He will be awarded a $2,500 investment from Flywheel Fund, The Mill’s venture capital fund for startup companies. Whitney Schlegel was awarded the first-ever Climate Resiliency Award, made possible by a grant from Duke Energy.
“Paid.care has been working silently out of the Mill for the last 6 months and let me tell you…bootstrapping & building any startup that is pre-revenue can be stressful at times,” said JR Ricker. “With that, the Paid.care team was incredibly grateful to have the Crossroads Idea Competition as a way to showcase the last 6 months of work before we officially launch in 2024. Not to mention, we received feedback & necessary questions from an awesome group of judges that we’ll carry forward in future Paid.care pitches.”
Paid.care provides the technology, support, and training to qualify and ultimately pay family caregivers who deliver high-quality in-home care for loved ones. Currently, they can provide this to caregivers in Indiana but will soon be expanding throughout the country via a mobile app.
In addition to the main track of the competition, ideas that supported environmental causes were considered for a $1k cash prize as part of the Climate Resiliency Award – made possible by a grant from Duke Energy. The inaugural winner was Whitney Schlegel who won with Sheep Wool Pellets, a product designed to contribute to sustainable and resilient agricultural systems.
“I am over the moon to have been named the Climate Resiliency Winner for the Crossroads Idea Competition,” said Whitney Schlegel of Marble Hill Farm. “I so appreciate the support of The Mill and the community they cultivate for entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs. I am excited to continue to work with The Mill to develop my business model and marketing strategy for sheep wool pellets as a climate-smart commodity for specialty crop growers as well as for landscapers and gardeners. Many thanks to The Mill and Duke Energy for jump-starting my dream!”
Sheep Wool Pellets are a product that can contribute to sustainable and resilient agricultural systems when used as a soil amendment or mulch. As a sheep producer, Whitney is motivated to find uses for waste wool that will improve soil health as well as increase awareness for wool as a regenerative, renewable, and climate-smart resource.
“I am thrilled for both of the winners of this year’s Idea Competition,” said Andy Lehman, Head of Accelerator Programming at The Mill. “JR and Whitney are proof of the magic that happens when you combine passion with a needed solution to a unique problem. I’m so proud of both of them and excited to see the impact their ideas have on the world.”
Crossroads Idea is a low-barrier pitch competition that launched in 2020. It’s a chance for founders in the earliest stages of their entrepreneurial journey to showcase their ideas and get feedback from expert judges. This year’s judges were Cerwin Rush, Data Enablement Leader, Crush Corporation; Ellie Symes, CEO, The Bee Corp; Liz Cook Irwin, Government & Community Relations Manager, Duke Energy; and Dave Bittner, Rural Business Advisor, West Central Indiana Small Business Development Center.
Visit https://www.dimensionmill.org/crossroads-idea-competition to learn more about the competition.
Share your news with us!
Submit your news to the Chamber by the 12th or 28th of each month to be included in the bi-weekly Membership Matters emails.
Webpage Square Ad Banner spaces are available for members. Download our sizes and pricing sheet for more information by clicking the button below.