Joel Gutierrez Campos of Modesto won the latest round of the Stanislaus Innovation Challenge with a mobile app that could be used in real estate deals.
He was among seven people pitching their business ideas at the Oakdale regional event Wednesday night. It was one of four leading to the Dec. 10 finals in Modesto and a prize of $5,000 in cash and professional services.
The app would help local governments, Realtors and developers fill vacant public and private spaces and empty storefronts by soliciting suggestions from local residents.
Campos was chosen via a panel of expert judges and audience voting at the Gene Bianchi Community Center. He joins Fred Axton, who won the Modesto regional last month with an idea for disabled-access showers, in the finals. The other regionals will be Oct. 29 in Patterson and Nov. 12 in Turlock.
The contest is open to people who live in Stanislaus County or own businesses or attend college here. The organizers choose five to seven people for each regional round; they do not need to live in that part of the county.
Each event starts with two-minute pitches, followed by 10-minute Q&A sessions for the three finalists. The other finalists Wednesday were Tim Ramos of Oakdale with an idea for drought-tolerant landscaping and Luke Rocha of Modesto with products that could be used in Air Soft Tactical war games.
The Stanislaus Business Alliance is putting on the contest, co-sponsored by Wells Fargo, The Modesto Bee and the Stanislaus/Merced Angels investment group.