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Tom DeVesto, GoSun and Aira Honored with CTA's 2017 Innovation Entrepreneur Awards

San Francisco, CA – October 11, 2017 – 
Today, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) announced the winners of its sixth annual Innovation Entrepreneur Awards. The 2017 honorees include Tom DeVesto, an entrepreneur with more than 40 years' experience pioneering high-end audio products; GoSun, a company innovating healthier, more efficient cooking products for consumers across the world; and Aira, a startup using breakthrough technology that's redefining daily life for people with disabilities.

Launched in 2012 by CTA's flagship magazine It Is Innovation (i3) and CTA's Small Business Council, the annual IEA awards honor entrepreneurs and businesses with revenues under $30 million for their contributions to the U.S. economy. Each year, a panel of tech experts recognizes one executive, one small business and one startup company for their excellence and innovation.

"This year's Innovation Entrepreneur Award winners embody technology's ability to make our lives better," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. "And their innovative spirit is what makes our industry unrivaled. GoSun's unique solar-powered grill helps consumers eat healthier and reduce their environmental-impact. Aira empowers those with vision loss toward greater independence by connecting them via smart glasses to a network of certified agents. And Tom DeVesto is a lifelong entrepreneur, hall of Fame audio designer and visionary with a history of innovative thinking.

Small Business Executive of the Year: Tom DeVesto has been designing and introducing quality consumer electronics brands for more than 40 years. He recently founded Como Audio in 2016, where he is founder and CEO, and prior to that was responsible for launching companies and innovative brands at Advent, Kloss Video, Cambridge SoundWorks, and Tivoli Audio, LLC. In founding Como Audio, Tom DeVesto's goal was simple: to make it easy to access all of the music content available through one device that would deliver multi-room, true high-fidelity, Wi-Fi sound in a compact wooden design.

Small Business of the Year: GoSun is changing the way the world cooks with breakthrough solar cooking innovation. The company's patented technology cooks a meal in minutes and works in freezing weather, wind and even light, overcast skies. Core to GoSun's success is a global network of passionate customers who have supported the company through multiple crowdfunding campaigns, including a crowd equity raise earlier this year. In 2018, GoSun plans to expand on its base technology, releasing hyper-efficient electric-hybrid cooking solutions and other offerings to power the solar lifestyle. Beyond powering fun in the sun, GoSun aims to make a larger social impact by bringing its technology to emerging markets where it can address issues in health, sustainability and energy poverty.

Startup of the Year: Aira develops transformative remote assistive technology that connects the blind with a network of certified agents via wearable smart glasses and an augmented reality dashboard that allows agents to see what the blind person sees in real time. Agents, serving as visual interpreters for the blind, help users accomplish a wide range of daily tasks and activities - from navigating busy streets to recognizing faces and literally traveling the world.

A distinguished panel of media and industry judges selected the Innovation Entrepreneur Awards honorees:
  • Jim Barry - CTA's Digital Answer Man
  • Greg Borchardt - co-founder and managing partner, Caerus Ventures
  • Rob Calem - freelance journalist
  • Pam Golden - founder and president, GLA Communication
  • Joellyn Gray - director of new business development, Fujifilm
  • Frank Gruber - CEO and executive editor, Tech.Co
  • Ximena Hartsock - co-founder, Phone2Action
  • Robert Heiblim - co-founder, BlueSalve 
  • Jim Ledbetter - editor, Inc. 
  • Eric Schwartz - managing director and executive producer, NAPCO Media 
  • Skip West - president, MAXSA Innovations 
  • Gary Yacoubian - president and CEO, SVS Sound
To learn more about the Innovation Entrepreneur Awards, visit CTA.tech/IEA for videos of the winners and information on the 2018 nomination process. Find complete profiles of the IEA winners in the January CES issue of It Is Innovation (i3) magazine. At CES, the world's most innovative startups and entrepreneurs are found in the Eureka Park Marketplace. Since 2012, more than 1,600 companies from all over the world have exhibited in Eureka Park, raising more than $1 billion in funding.

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