DAYTON, Ohio. The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and Soin International announced Thursday that DESiN LLC, a startup business based in Dayton, has won the 2017 Soin Award for Innovation.
DESiN LLC produces a revolutionary dining companion known as Obi, which helps restore dignity for those who, due to various reasons, are not able to enjoyably feed themselves.
“We believe dining is one of life’s greatest pleasures that everyone should enjoy,” said Jon Dekar, co-founder, DESiN LLC. “What our device stands for is equally as important as what it does. It represents our belief that living with physical challenges can be fulfilling and inspiring. Technology, and specifically robots, combined with modern design, should facilitate that.”
Obi is the first product from DESiN, made up of a small team of visionaries. The first Obi prototype was developed in 2006 by Dekar, who at the time was a University of Dayton engineering student. Dekar saw the challenges faced by people with disabilities and was exposed to stories as varied as that of his aging grandfather or a 6-year-old girl with Arthrogryposis. Dekar graduated from UD and, with his father Tom, founded DESiN in 2010.
“This has been an incredible 10-year journey to go from my dorm room prototype to having Obi units manufactured and ready to sell,” said Dekar. “Today is a milestone for our team, but it’s far more important in terms of what Obi brings to people living with physical limitations. During this journey, I’ve met so many amazing people who face incredible challenges with grace and strength. It’s an honor and privilege to be able to help them reclaim something as fundamental as eating a meal together with friends and family.”
Obi’s innovative use of advanced technology and clear plan to bring the product to market, while involving several Dayton area manufacturers, suppliers and partners, most impressed the Soin Award panel of judges made up of area business leaders and representatives from small business supporters. The judges poured through business plans, financial information and other submissions before choosing a top three, which then presented their ideas to the panel.
DESiN LLC’s win earns a $25,000 prize and various marketing opportunities.
The Soin Award for Innovation began on the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce’s 100th anniversary as a way to honor the businesses carrying on the innovative heritage of the Dayton region. The Raj Soin family has generously been the benefactor of the award since its inception.
Learn more about the Obi product at www.meetobi.com.
About Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce: The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce brings together more than 2,400 businesses and organizations in a 9 county area surrounding Dayton, Ohio. The Chamber strives to improve the region’s business climate and overall standard of living through public policy advocacy, economic development initiatives and providing networking and training opportunities for its members. Information about the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce is available at www.daytonchamber.org or 937-226-1444.