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Former Beloit Memorial High School Teacher Wins Beloit Business Pitch Competition

A former School District of Beloit science teacher won a business pitch competition for her idea to create specialized bras for women who’ve had chest trauma.

Deana Fahn-Johnson took the top prize of $1,000 in the gALPHA pitch competition at Irontek Tuesday night at the Ironworks campus in downtown Beloit.

Johnson is a breast cancer survivor who has spent the past year developing her idea to create a more functional, adjustable and comfortable bra for women who have had breast surgery or other chest conditions such as calcifications or fibroids.

“I had four surgeries and they sent me home in the most uncomfortable thing imaginable,” Fahn-Johnson said.

ohnson was one of 10 entrepreneurs in the gALPHA cohort to pitch their business ideas on Tuesday night. gALPHA is a program run by Gener8tor of Madison at Irontek for early-stage entrepreneurs.

Johnson already has created three iterations of her idea and she’s working with Simple Stitches in Rockford on a fourth. Once she has a prototype that satisfies her, she can then approach manufacturing companies about production.

Johnson said she knows she’s a long way from being a functioning business, but was excited to win for a simple reason.

“Now I can open a business account,” she said.

Rick Latella of Woodstock, Illinois, won the second place prize of $500. He is developing an eco-friendly water filtration system to keep bacteria from stormwater drains from entering rivers, streams, ponds and lakes.

Beloit Turner High School graduate Vanna Nguyen took third with her business pitch to create a flax-to-linen production pipeline in the United States.

Gener8tor also runs gBETA, which is an accelerator program for entrepreneurs looking for investors to help them scale their businesses rapidly. Gener8tor is taking applications for fall cohort until Sept. 9. If interested, visit

Source: Beloit Daily News