OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Ever since Google announced it would bring ultra high-speed internet to the metro, people have been wondering how it might be best put to use. Now an international competition to figure that out has been narrowed to 39 semi-finalists.
The Gigabit Challenge had 113 submissions from five continents and 24 states. It asked aspiring entrepreneurs for their ideas for business ideas that best used the Google network, and everyone from big names in the high-tech world to a metro grandpa made the cut.
In his Overland Park apartment grandfather of four, Michael McKinzy, developed a plan 20 years in the making that could change American history. A chad-free voting society.
“The 2000 election is you know in the back of my mind,” McKinzy explains.
His plan is to allow people to vote online from a secure site, using a fingerprint scanner on a mouse. After you vote, you get a receipt to keep. You never have to leave the house
McKinzy entered his idea for modern voting into the Gigabit Challenge, the former electrician and current DeVry University student, is one of 39 semi-finalists.
Greg Kratofil, Junior, an attorney who helps technology businesses, is a judge in the competition who’s impressed by entries he saw, even those from local inventors, but to grow, ideas need cash.
“One of the challenges that we have in the midwest here is how we fund those companies going forward,” Kratofil, Jr. says.
Think Big Partners will donate some seed money to the winner, the company’s co-founder says it’s an investment in these inventors.
“What they’ve been able to come up with and prove that could really be viable in this community I think are fantastic,” Tyler Prochnow says.
For McKinzy, it’s not just about the money, but a legacy for his country and family.
“I hope that they can sit back and say, yeah, that’s my grandad,” McKinzy smiles.
The winner of the contest gets $100,000, and $250,000 as an investment in their new company.