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May 15, 2014 | Tom Ballard

“BIG IDEA” TEAM CRUZE: Start-ups focused on elderly, trainers, and certification

Big Idea-tekno(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a three-part series briefly profiling the nine companies selected for the latest round of the “What’s the Big Idea?!” business competition. Each article in the series is based on the presentations made during the down selection round on May 6, so some changes can be expected when they next present during the “Knock-Out Competitions” set for June 3. After all, that’s the purpose of the coaching/mentoring process.)

By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.

Guille Cruze, Chief Executive Officer of Clinical Health Communications, Inc. and Founder of The White Stone Group Inc., selected start-ups focused on the elderly, personal trainers, and certification training for his coaching cohort in the 2014 “What’s the Big Idea?!” competition.

Between May 6 and the “Knock-Out Competitions” set for June 3, he will bring his expertise in starting companies to the three founders to help them refine their business plans, better prepare for the next event, and enhance their likelihood for long-term success.

Elder Tech

“We are a service to bridge the gap between the elderly and technology,” Theresa Maples explained during her May 6 presentation of a start-up named Elder Tech. She cited the challenges older folks face in trying to use technology for everyday living in the same, easy manner that younger people do.

Maples’ concept involves both a retail location and delivery in the homes of her clients. She also described three levels of service – a “DoIt4U” line where her staff would do all of the work required to set-up a device, computer or whatever; a “Show/TeachU” option where the clients would learn from her staff how to do the work themselves; and a “DIY” (Do It Yourself) level that would involve minimal assistance.

Christopher Saah’s company was recently profiled on In his presentation on May 6, the University of Tennessee student described his concept that is focused on enhancing the visibility and income of personal trainers.

Noting that the median income of trainers is $28,000, Saah described how will “make the profession more lucrative” in two ways. First, for those trainers who sign-up, he will provide them a template for their own way webpage to increase their visibility. Second, using the website, he will allow them to direct their clients to use it to order everything from dietary supplements to products they need such as yoga mats, weights, and boxing gloves.

Saah explained that the order fulfillment is handled by and the trainers share a portion of the revenues from each order.

Prime Medical Training

“There’s this huge disparity in the healthcare training system,” Andrew Randazzo says in describing his vision for Prime Medical Training. As the trained paramedic explained, medical professionals needing recertification training frequently wait until the last minute and then cannot find the necessary class. The result is decertification until they can take the training.

“We are providing a consistent and regular class schedule,” Randazzo says of his on-going business that is drawing customers to Knoxville from cities like Atlanta. His “Big Idea” is to expand the scope of services and number of classes.

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