News Release, Purdue University Northwest:

Three innovators were awarded investment capital for their startup pitches after earning judges’ top picks April 27 in the 13th annual The PNW Big Sell pitch competition.

The PNW Big Sell is hosted by PNW’s Office of Commercialization and Research and sponsored by PNW’s College of Business, Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) and Centier Bank.

Jonathan Rose earned first place and $10,000 for the pitch for ModMath. The application is intended to assist students with dyslexia and dysgraphia complete math exercises with a digital interface instead of a physical writing utensil and paper.

Emily Edwards earned second place and $3,000 for the pitch for Paradise Spreads. Edwards’ business involves a collection of organic, gluten-free, plant-based spreads and snacks. Edwards previously earned second place for Paradise Spreads in the 2021 The PNW Big Sell and has received subsequent support from PNW CMEC staff for further commercialization.

Danielle Cruz-Lopez received third place and $1,000 for Sepsis Slayers, a business that aims to reduce sepsis-related deaths within the medical field.

Ten finalists presented to a panel of four judges inside PNW’s Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center (CMEC). The competition was also aired and streamed on WJOB and JEDtv.

“The PNW Big Sell pitch competition provides aspiring entrepreneurs from all walks of life to present their innovative ideas for potential commercialization,” said Niaz Latif, interim provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and associate vice chancellor for Commercialization and Research. “We appreciate the community sponsorship that we receive each year, which helps to recognize these talented individuals and promote potential startups in Northwest Indiana.”

“The PNW Big Sell serves as a valuable opportunity to support regional entrepreneurs and forward a university goal of fostering transformative innovation for our communities,” said Alexandra Moran, clinical instructor of Entrepreneurship. “We appreciate the contestants’ ingenuity and look forward to continuing to support their business goals.”

Mont Handley, entrepreneur in residence and associate director of CMEC, and Moran jointly directed the event. A panel of four judges included Vincent Arcuri, professional casting director; John Fountain, professor of Journalism at Roosevelt University; Max Moses, former for-profit and non-profit director; and Alex Wisniewski, co-founder and CEO of Cultivation Connect.

A recording of The PNW Big Sell can be viewed on-demand via subscription at For more information about The PNW Big Sell, visit