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May 22, 2014 | Tom Ballard

“BIG IDEA” TEAM MAYES: Global housing, parking app, and tools to enhance retailing

(Big Idea-teknoEDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second 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.

Misty Mayes, President of Management Solutions, LLC, selected start-ups focused on affordable housing, a parking application, and a tool to enhance retailing as the three entrepreneurs to coach in the 2014 “What’s the Big Idea?!” competition.

Like her other mentoring and coaching colleagues, she will bring her expertise in starting her own company and two decades of project management work to help these founders refine their business plans, better prepare for the next event, and enhance their likelihood for long-term success.

The next official activity is the “Knock-Out Competitions” set for June 3.


Daniel Schuh is combining his expertise as an architect and historic property developer with his entrepreneurial interests – Relix Variety Theatre and Studio Schuh – to apply mobile technologies to the parking industry.

“We are putting the parking operator in the middle between the parker and (area) businesses,” he says in describing the concept for ComPark. It is an app that uses a patent pending process and existing cellphone technology to help businesses attract customers once they park in a specific lot or garage while also providing discounts to the parkers.

International House Works, LLC

John W. Cook says the focus of International House Works, LLC, is “arguably one of the top five problems globally.” As he passionately presented his concept on May 6, he talked about the absence of affordable, sustainable housing in many of the world’s countries.

“My goal is to be able to put a sustainable community anywhere in the world,” Cook said. The concept draws on pre-manufactured housing techniques that enable shipping of two types of homes to any location. One would be what he described as a “shelter home” – 16 feet by 16 feet – that costs $7,800. The larger option would be 24 feet by 24 feet and cost $13,300.

Describing the current efforts to address housing needs in the undeveloped nations as “donor-based,” Cook said his effort would change it to “investment-based.”


Casey Ash says the idea for Retailius was “developed around my experience working in retail sales.” His goal is to help small businesses reach customers more efficiently and effectively through the integration of sales channels. To do so, he envisages both SaaS (Software as a service) and data monetization components.


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