A Glastonbury company using cutting-edge agricultural technology to bring fresh produce to the Greater Hartford community won the top prize at a recent awards ceremony honoring innovative New England-based startups.
Fresh Farm Aquaponics earned $20,000 plus a package of professional services as the “diamond level” winner at reSET’s Annual Impact challenge. The company strives to expand the use of aquaponics — which combines aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil) — to bring healthy, sustainable produce to consumers.
reSET is a Hartford-based nonprofit working to advance the social enterprise sector, in which companies strive to make a social impact in addition to turning a profit. The organization’s Impact Challenge, in its fifth year, honors the “most innovative and impactful early-stage ventures and startups” from various industries, according to the group.
Movia Robotics, based in Hartford, and Planet Fuel Beverage Co., based in Fairfield, won top honors in the “gold level,” each receiving $10,000 and a professional services package.
Movia Robotics uses games and activities to offer an engaging, educational experience designed for autistic children. The company’s offerings are intended to help children develop communication and academic skills.
Planet Fuel makes organic beverages for children, donating at least 1 percent of its profits to “green” groups focused on conservation efforts.
Other award winners included Hartford Prints and Parrot MD, both based in Hartford. Each company won in the “silver” division, receiving $5,000 and professional services.
New Hampshire-based BookBugs won the People’s Choice award of $1,500 and professional services, and Hamden-based Send Help Back Home won the $1,500 Investor’s Choice prize.
There also were seven Bronze winners: Asarasi Inc., Beautiful Day/Providence Granola Project, BookBugs, Daily General Counsel, Dream See Do, Hugo & Hoby, and LOTUS Alliance LLC. Each of them received $500.
The overall theme of this year’s Impact was “Welcome to the Future,” honoring forward-looking companies.
The competition’s $75,000 in prize money was provided by multiple sponsors. reSET also receives funding from its partners, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Innovations, the MetroHartford Alliance, and The Walker Group.
In its first five years, the contest has awarded more than $180,000 to businesses. Next year’s purse will grow to $100,000, according to reSET CEO Kate Emery.