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Entrepreneurs Aspire at 'Growth 2.0'


We had the pleasure of meeting many entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners who lined up to pitch the editors of Entrepreneur at the publication's Growth 2.0 conference in Long Beach, Calif., this week.

Some of the more interesting businesses that pitched their stories to us included the following:

-Kart-Smart, a start-up that produces disposable shopping-cart handle covers made of recycled and biodegradable materials. Sal Alvarez, the CEO, is already working on getting advertisers on-board to sponsor the germ and virus blockers that wrap around shopping cart handles.

-Hathman Medical Products, which is marketing a reusable bandage. We know what you're thinking. Ew. But the "Hathback" bandage actually is a adhesive frame that goes around the disposable gauze that usually helps heal a wound. The frame is reusable. The gauze can be tossed. Not a bad idea in these green times.

-Pricepinx, a website that crawls the web and alerts users to price drops on products they're considering for a purchase. Brilliant.

-Littleyim, a revolutionary concept: The idea is to let visitors to its site invest in up-and-coming professional athletes. It treats its subjects like the New York Stock Exchange treats its listings. You can invest early and hope for a payoff as sponsorships and prize money come in. I wonder about the legality and logistics of such a set-up, but it if works, more power to them.

-Collarfree, a company that crowdsources T-shirt design. In other words, you can put up a personalized T-shirt and visitors to its site will vote on it. If it's good, it gets front-page billing and will sell, with its maker splitting profits with Collarfree. What's more, the company is now lending its crowdsourcing technology to mainstream brands that want to put on contests and market new looks and logos to the millennial crowd.

We also met a host of entrepreneurs whose main goal is to help other entrepreneurs meet their own goals. I'm not sure we need more middlemen and women, though, in these times. One young man started a website that hopes to pair Hollywood investors with aspiring filmmakers. Good luck. And one woman who says she's losing her house to foreclosure was marketing herself as an anti-foreclosure counselor who could help families hold on to their own houses. Uh-huh.

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