It’s very rare when that light bulb goes off in your head and you get paid for it. Local and statewide entrepreneurs and inventors were recognized last week in the New Ideas SC contest, which rewards one innovative idea with $5,000 in start-up money and a team of mentors to launch a product or service. The annual contest was created by FastTrac, a coalition of businesses, nonprofits, and universities that provides business training across the state.

Newberry’s Charlie Banks won the grand prize this year with his new way to build insulation panels. First place winners in four other categories received a $2,500 cash prize, including Charleston resident Robert Horner for his pitch to turn heat used at power plants into an alternative energy source. Honorable mentions included the Foot Guardian which reduces accidents involving forklifts and the EZ Gown which keeps your ass covered during hospital visits. Take a look at all the pitches at