The Edison Project is our region’s only entrepreneurial competition that aims to find, potentially fund and help entrepreneurs and business start-ups who have an idea for an innovative, viable business launch in the Greater Hickory Metro. Finalists will have exclusive access to a team of business advisors and local entrepreneurial resources and will vie for seed investment dollars in the amount of $8,000 for first place, $5,000 for second place and $3,000 for third place, as well as incentives for other special categories.

Sponsored by: NCIdea, Alex Lee, Inc, Catawba County, Catawba Valley Community College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce, Burke County Chamber of Commerce, NC Small Business Technology & Development Center, MuscleRX, and Cosmo Motors

Each of our finalists will pitch their idea to a Financial Panel of bankers, venture capitalists, and angel investors from across the state, participate in customized workshops and one-on-one mentoring with our Board of Advisors, attend a Support Mixer and submit their Business Plan to be reviewed and judged.  The competition will conclude with a final pitch to an audience made up of community members on Tuesday, November 13th at 5:30PM at Market on Main in Hickory during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

To be placed on the interest list for our 2019 Edison Project Competition, please email Lindsay Keisler, Chamber President/CEO

2017 WINNER -

Foothills Digest

Foothills Digest is a publication and website which speaks to the history and tradition of the Foothills region of North Carolina, featuring people and movements that are shaping our future.

"The Edison Project was a truly wonderful experience. The most valuable thing about it was that it forced me to think out the details of my business plan, which prepared me in ways I didn't expect. It was amazing to be able to pick the brains of so many business professionals, and it truly set me up for success."

-Carmen Eckard,

Foothills Digest

Edison Project Wall of Fame

2017 First Place, Foothills Digest: Foothills Digest is a publication and website which speaks to the history and tradition of the Foothills region of North Carolina.

2016 First Place, PushNPutt: PushNPutt Golf Products, LLC, aims to change the way golfers practice putting through its patented, innovative flagsticks that automatically raise golf balls out of the cut and back onto the putting surface.  The products are 100% made in the USA at Image Industries in Newton, NC.

2015 First Place, BlingBook: Blingbook is a unique modular jewelry binder system to organize, store and transport your jewelry collection in a tangle free and customizable way.  It simplifies and de-clutters.  Basic at its Best!


2014 First Place, Collegiate Kids Books:  Collegiate Kids Books brings you interactive, touch and feel children’s books featuring school mascots, beloved school traditions and well-known school landmarks.  Using moveable parts, a variety of textured materials, scratch and sniff experiences, custom colorful artwork, and a simple rhyming cadence, these books are sure to turn your children into enthusiastic fans.

2013 First Place, The MESH:  The MESH is a new media online network, designed to produce and deliver unique content to computers, mobile phones, iPods, iPads, and any other device connected to the Internet.  Just like a traditional television network, The MESH has a series of programs and "shows" on a variety of topics... everything ranging from business to education, music to movies, sports to gossip.  The difference is you can watch or listen to what you want, when you want, and where you want.

2012 First Place, Tileware Products:  David and his business partner Mike Freedel with Tileware Products have developed a new fastening system for shower accessories installed in the tile mortar. They have manufacturing and distribution in progress and are looking to expand on their already working business model with investor assistance.

2011 First Place, is a confidential website service for car buyers that eliminates car purchase negotiations and makes dealers compete and openly bid for business, ensuring customers receive the absolute best price.

2018 Finalists

Gourmet Caramel Corn - Donna Meadows

“With natural ingredients and the crunch of a traditional snack, Layne Lee LLC makes caramel corn that has a perfect balance of a sweet and salty.  Layne Lee LLC is committed to producing delicious caramel corn in a single serve size that is readily available in all convenience markets for you to enjoy every day.”


Henry River Mill Village -  Calvin Reyes

“The Henry River Mill Village project is a start-up venture focused on driving community pride and involvement through the redevelopment and adaptive reuse of the historic Henry River Mill Village. This project includes the restoration of the village into a bed & breakfast and resort style setup to allow locals and visitors to enjoy all western North Carolina has to offer including history, recreation on land and rivers, food and culture, and of course, our great sense of community. “


KardKases .com-  Ralph Griffith

“For the vintage card enthusiast,, offers several products to appropriately store, preserve, and transport prized collectible card collections. “

Kitsuma Bar - Cedric Clyburn

“Kitsuma Bar produces hand-crafted performance bars in the heart of Western North Carolina. Made with fruits and nuts from local farmers, Kitsuma Bar fuels adventures from mountain biking to trail running. Learn more at!”


Lamassu Arak - Nahrain Kamber

“Arak is a traditional, smooth, anise-flavored spirit enjoyed for centuries by people of the Middle East, including Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Iraq. Despite the rise in popularity in both Middle Eastern cuisine and unique craft spirits in the US, Arak remains a spirit imported from the Middle East. Lamassu Arak brings its ancient origins to the West as the first manufactured and bottle commercial Arak in America.”


Lathers Skin Essentials – Lori Dixon

“At Lathers Skin Essentials,"we make products that feed your layers". There is really no size fits all in the soap manufacturing world and we aim to change that one bubble at a time.”


MP ProConsult- Marie Palacios

“MP ProConsult, Inc. provides customized cross-cultural solutions for businesses that employ or serve Latinos. Our cultural consulting, diversity training and Spanish/English language access services are designed to educate and equip businesses that seek to overcome cultural and language barriers, increase productivity, and reduce the risk of workplace discrimination. MP ProConsult is where culture, language, and business development meet.”


Person Center 3D Protection- Brian Coleman

“At Person Center3D Protection, LLC we design customized protective devices and software systems to provide medical protection to individuals with Alzheimer's Disease, related dementia's, intellectual and developmental disabilities, mild cognitive impairments and any other individual seeking protection after adverse medical events. Our goal is to provide cutting edge tools to families, caregivers and medical personnel to keep patients and loved ones safe throughout recovery by utilizing a person centered approach to protective device design. Our approach identifies and addresses the needs of the individual- increasing protection, comfort, reliability and peace of mind.”


The Drone Advantage - Thomas McGrath

“Our goal at The Drone AdVantage is to create the most inspiring products with the latest technology. Matterport 3D Virtual Tours, Aerial Drone footage, and Cinematic Promotional Videos will not only set apart businesses in all industries, but it will exceed their potential client's expectations.”


Tripel B Brewing – James & Casey Boyatt

“We are craft brewers who place an emphasis on consistency and customer service. We know you’ll love our beer, and we can’t wait to serve Lenoir and its surrounding areas.”


Uncle Paulie Donuts- Paul Roderick

“I’m looking to take my home based vegan donut business to the next level. The vegan industry has grown in recent years, and vegan desserts are in demand. Everyone enjoys a good donut!”