The 2017 Roseburg Angel Investors Network conference brought business leaders and 14 students from Roseburg High School’s Future Business Leaders of America together to hear entrepreneurs compete with pitches for their businesses Friday at Umpqua Community College.

Douglas and Coos county locals competed in the concept stage for businesses in the early phases of starting up.

With her new product called Comfort Feed, Erika Maritz of Roseburg won the $5,000 prize for first place. A radiation therapist for 14 years at the Community Cancer Center, Maritz noticed patients were uncomfortable and irritated with feeding tubes taped to their skin, so she decided to start her company, Oregon Medical Solutions, LLC., to create an adjustable feeding tube holder. Patients can wear the Comfort Feed as a band across their abdomens that can connect with a feeding tube.

The products can also be used for dialysis and drainage tubes, and the Community Cancer Center is currently using them to help its patients. With the prize money, Maritz plans to finish manufacturing the next batch of 1,000 Comfort Feed units and create a sketch animation video for marketing.

Melinda King won second place in the concept stage for her Roseburg-based bakery, Bluebird Cupcakery, which offers custom cakes and cupcakes made from scratch without the use of preservatives.

“I’m really excited and honored, and it’s such a blessing to be part of this for a second year,” King said. She also competed in the concept stage last year.

King plans to invest the $3,000 prize in her Cupcake Camper, a mobile trailer from which she plans to sell her cupcakes at weddings, community events and the food truck court set to open soon in Roseburg. The white camper features the bakery’s logo of a flying bluebird holding a cherry over a frosted cupcake.

Jay Richards of Roseburg, chief medical officer at Umpqua Community Health Center, was awarded the grand prize of $70,000 as the winner of the launch stage competition. This competition included companies around the state that have initial funding and are further along in their development. Richard’s startup, Simple Screens, is a web application for medical and dental clinics to help expedite the question-and-answer process for patients. The app uses an algorithm to create questions for patients based on their age, gender and several initial questions.

Patients can answer the questions in the waiting room so they have more time with the doctor. Richards said he had the idea two years ago, and, with the help of the UCC Small Business Development Center, he began creating the business. He went on to win second place in the concept stage competition at last year’s RAIN conference. Since then, Richards has continued to develop the app and has brought it in to a local dental clinic for trial runs, though he’s not approved to say which clinic.

“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s paid off,” Richards said.

Reporter Emily Hoard can be reached at 541-957-4217 or ehoard@nrtoday.com. Or follow her on Twitter @hoard_emily.

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Business, Natural Resources and Outdoors Reporter

Emily Hoard is the business, outdoors and natural resources reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4217 or by email at ehoard@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @hoard_emily.

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