Camden Catalyst, a competition created by Waterfront Ventures to promote startup growth in the South Jersey city, announced its winners last Friday. Invincible City Farms, an urban farm company, won the big prize: $25,000 in no-equity seed money, a year of office space at Waterfront Lab and access to professional services.
“I am so grateful and looking forward to seeing CamdenCatalyst impact on business in the city in the years to come,” tweeted the startup’s founder, Fredric Byarm, a Camden native and chef by trade.
The prize comes with some strings, however: companies must build their headquarters in Camden, stay in the city for three years and hire over 50 percent of their workforce from Camden during that time. The conditions actually align with Invincible City’s mission: to create local jobs and stave off the “food desert” effect, in which access to affordable, healthy food options is scarce.
Waterfront Ventures CEO Khai Tran said the contest gave startups a shot to consider Camden as their new home, hire in the city and bring the community together around Camden’s future. The “City on the Rise” has been picking up steam lately, with a small crop of tech companies growing out of the Waterfront Lab space and an independent bid submitted to Amazon to host its HQ2.
— InvincibleCityFarms (@ICFarms) October 22, 2017
“I just got really inspired by everyone I met, especially the kids, so I said: let’s see what we can do with all this amazing energy,” said Cloudamize CEO Bob Moul, who dropped some cash for the grand prize.
The competition also put three runners-up on the map: Engageathon, a community engagement software platform; Denial Flow, a management system for denied healthcare claims; and Linked Noodle, a community platform connecting teachers to students interested in skill development.