Nhuad Custom Controllers is the Winner of the 2023 Rhode Island Business Competition

PROVIDENCE – (May 5, 2023) – A single hand video game controller created for gamers with one hand or other disabilities was announced the winner of the 2023 Rhode Island Business Competition. Charles Johnson, CEO of Nhuad Custom Controllers, was one of the four finalists who competed against over 30 applicants for awards totaling over $100,000 in cash and prizes. The awards ceremony was held at Venture Café as well as live-streamed.

In a joint statement, RIBC Co-Chairs Peggy Farrell, Partner at Hinckley Allen, and Anthony Mangiarelli, Partner at KLR, noted "We are so excited to showcase these businesses tonight. Each year the quality of the candidates improves, making the judges’ decisions that much harder. It is important for us now to celebrate the dedication and hard work of these talented entrepreneurs and we look forward to seeing them continuing to succeed."

The following are the other three finalists for this year's Competition:

Papi’s Coquito is an authentic, high-quality, Coquito-inspired liqueur, resonating with heritage and appealing to diverse tastes. Principal applicant: Victor Regino

Trace Sensing Technologies has developed a sensor platform capable of detecting target biomarkers in exhaled breath (or through skin) for rapid, early, non-invasive disease diagnosis and monitoring. Principal applicant: Peter Ricci

Wingspans is an immersive platform that leverages storytelling and AI to build a new and diverse future of work. Principal applicant: Lindsay Kuhn

Serving as judges for this year are:

  • Kim Anderson, Impact Investor and Owner of Plant City
  • Bob Chatham, Director at Slater Technology Fund
  • Jason Costa, Vice President of Commercial Banking at Washington Trust
  • Peggy Farrell, Partner at Hinckley Allen
  • Katharine Flynn, Executive Director at URI's Business Engagement Center
  • Anthony Mangiarelli, Partner at KLR
  • Aidan Petrie, Founding Partner of the New England Medical Innovation Center (NEMIC)
  • Annette Tonti, Managing Director at RIHub

The prizes consisting of cash and in-kind services are provided by dozens of sponsors, including banks, investors, colleges and universities, professional services firms, non-profits, construction, health related, software, retail, and other businesses as well as former competitors.

Sponsors of the 2023 Rhode Island Business Competition

Pillar sponsors are Bryant University, Cox Business, and Everhope Foundation. Other lead sponsors include Envision Technology Advisors, Hinckley Allen, KLR, and Sprout Coworking.

Also sponsoring are Beacon Mutual Insurance Company, FM Global, and Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce.

Additional sponsors include Bank Rhode Island, Bristol County Savings Bank, Business Development Company, Delta Dental of Rhode Island, Dimeo Construction Company, Navigant Credit Union, Peter George, Slater Technology Fund, Washington Trust, BankNewport, Bank of America, Blount Fine Foods, Brain for Rent, Brown University Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, Cherrystone Angel Group, Coastal1 Credit Union, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at CCRI, and Morgan Stanley - Richard Carriere. Our growth partners are MassChallenge, New England Medical Innovation Center, RIHub, and Venture Café Providence.

The Rhode Island Business Competition fosters development of companies by inviting emerging and established entrepreneurs to submit ideas for a business, in any industry, that is based in Rhode Island and has strong growth potential. The most promising ideas will receive cash and services. The Competition is supported by a broad range of sponsors that include private businesses, investors, foundations, colleges and universities, public entities, nonprofit organizations, and former competitors. Today, we are one of the leading community-supported business competitions in the Northeast.