How cool is this? just wrapped up the voting in its first Boost Your Business contest. Nearly 1,000 contestants entered the contest, which boasts a $100,000 grand prize. The five finalists made their cases before a panel of judges in New York City recently. The goal of their pitches was to demonstrate that a $100,000 investment in their companies would generate greater growth than a similar investment in their competitors.

Darn, I wish I had known about that. I know of at least one person whose idea was reported on in The NEWS who could have been a contestant. Does the phrase “Double Duty HVAC” ring a bell? Anyway, I’ve included a synopsis of each sales pitch below, in each of the finalist’s own words. will announce the winner on December 12.

• is an online exchange for water and wastewater utilities and their vendors. offers an easy and accessible means for water and wastewater vendors to locate opportunities to do business with utilities around the world. Through our clearinghouse module, utilities can post their contract opportunities on for free and they become immediately available for viewing to anyone with Internet access.

• Simply Divine Brownies is a Maine-based mother-daughter business, which bakes gourmet brownies from scratch with love, laughter, and the finest confections. We differentiate ourselves from our leading competitors by offering a wide spectrum of toppings and frostings on our brownies as well as the first collection of hand-cut and hand-decorated shaped brownies in the country.

• was conceived by a unicyclist to serve the needs of fellow unicyclists. Launched in March 1999, at the height of the dot-com bust, the company surprised everyone, including its founders. It didn’t just survive; it thrived. Eight years later, has become a market leader in the USA and in eight nations around the world.

• Presidential Classroom is a non-profit, non-partisan educational company founded nearly 40 years ago to invigorate civic responsibility and sustain the democratic process by introducing high school students interested in public leadership and civic affairs to experience Democracy in Action. Presidential Classroom enrolls several thousand outstanding high school students every year who attend one of 18 week-long conferences.

• Recycline Inc.® has pioneered the development, production, and marketing of high-performance, environment-friendly consumer products made with recycled and environmentally-preferred materials. The company’s products include toothbrushes, razors, and tableware sold under the Preserve brand. Preserve® is the No. 1 selling brand in its categories in the $50 billion natural grocery channel. Preserve’s three core product lines are available at nearly 7,000 retailers nationwide.

My money is on the brownies. Stay tuned.

I think it is time for HVAC pros to gather their ideas together and submit their plans next year. Who of you couldn’t use an extra a grand to spin off a new profit center? I sure could.