UGA FABricate Competition Announces $10,000 Prize Winner

By Tatum Smith

Writer’s Note: I attended The University of Georgias FABricate event for an event coverage assignment in my reporting and writing across platforms class. This was one of my first event coverage experiences. This event was held over Zoom.

The University of Georgia held their annual FABricate event on Wednesday, March 21 at 5:30 p.m. The business founders show their passion for the environment through their businesses. At the end of the event, Chris Rhodes announced the winner of the $10,000 prize to help one of the businesses start to grow.

This annual event is hosted by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Chris Rhodes, the Director of Industry Partnership and Project Based Learning at UGA. The department provides this opportunity to help start-up small, sustainable businesses. The categories pitched to the judges included, new food products, agricultural technology, agriculture or food businesses, and environmental or sustainable businesses.

Five different businesses pitched their business ideas. “All of your ideas are viable businesses, and all of your ideas will have positive impact on the world if you continue with them,” Chris Rhodes, Director of Industry Partnership and Project Based Learning, said to start off the evening.

The finalists included five women of color. Greena Kim, who created AutoMat, a retractable non-slip mat that is self-disinfecting for veterinarians. MAIA Aquatech, Kamaya Brantley wants an aquaponics-type solution to provide fresh food to food deserts. Adrian Robbins, the owner of Aglite, a UVC sterilization solution for horticultural and agricultural tools to prevent plant disease. Out of the Basket, a custom outdoor experience and picnic provider founded by Nisha Kavalam. Lastly, Kristen Dunning the founder of Gently, an herbal skincare products company.

All of these businesses show love and passion for the environment and show thought about the people and animals living in these environments. AutoMat co-founder, Greena Kim said, “Our silicone mat is more durable than PVC and it can be fully recycled after its lifespan leaving less of an ecological footprint.”

The winner was announced after the judges deliberated for about 20 minutes. Greena Kim, the co-founder of AutoMat, received the $10,000 prize.

Greena Kim has a list full of experience and education. She received a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, conducted research at NYU in Neuroscience, and went to the Veterinary Medicine school at UGA. After graduating, she worked at Briarcliff Animal Clinic as a Veterinary Assistant.

When working at the animal clinic she quickly learned that pets did not comfortable and safe while being examined. She found a way to make vet visits easier for pet owners, and quicker appointment turn-around rates for animal clinics. That is when Kim thought of a self-disinfecting mat that pets feel comfortable on while being examined. Her product is eco-friendly and sustainable. With little to no waste, this product is a must-have for animal clinics.