Top 5? Nah... How about a Top 6 this year?

Louisiana Startup Prize is ready for their 2016 Final Final, set to kick off on August 19, with the announcement of their Top 6 entrepreneurs. Yep, they announced six finalists this year as opposed to their normal five. That is how fierce this competition is. It's also a major testament to the quality of business-minded people who are being drawn to our area to launch a successful business.

The announcement was made in front of a packed house at Rhino Coffee Wednesday night.

It's just the third year that Louisiana Startup Prize (LASP) has hosted the competition. This year, 100 entrepreneurs attended Qualifying Events as a part of the competition in April and June. According to LASP, fifty-two percent of the competitors were from cities other than Shreveport-Bossier, like San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Houston, New York and Memphis. Sixty-three percent were minority and/or female. Last night, six were chosen to compete for the Ultimate Grand Prize of $25,000 in cash and $50,000 in prizes.

Gregory Kellenberg, executive director of Louisiana Startup Prize is quite please with this year's success.

“Having an additional startup join the Top 5 is an incredible step forward for us. It means that the quality of our entrepreneurs and their startups has never been higher. Also, having a woman-run startup in the mix shows that we are helping to grow a diverse and incredibly innovative event where everyone and their concepts are celebrated and rewarded.”

This year's winner will receive $25,000 cash, $10,000 of marketing from Williams Creative Group, $10,000 of accounting from Heard, McElroy and Vestal, a year of free office space at the American Tower and a $5,000 corporate video from Fairfield Studios. In addition, Aneca Federal Credit Union is offering $100,000 of financing for business expenses. And that's not all. During the final event, the judges are also investors. They will have the opportunity to invest further into any of the finalists.

The six finalists are:

1. Bansen Labs out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This business connects people with disabilities with technological devices for daily use.

2. Cast 21 out of Urbana, Illinois. This business creates a new kind of lattice-structure cast that conforms to any amorphous shape. It's form-fitting and breathable.

3. Feather out of Menmpis, Tennessee. This business offers senior care to individuals and their families catered to their specific needs and schedules through a mobile app.

4. Segue Therapeutics. This is a biotechnology company dedicate to re-purposing drugs to treat pancreatic cancer.

5. Vega Coffee out of New York, New York and Leon, Nicaragua. This is an online coffee company that will aid native coffee growers by connecting them with consumers.

6. Viper Drill out of Lake Charles, Louisiana. This radial drilling system will improve oil and gas recoveries from existing wells creating a series of drainage tunnels.