EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

May 21, 2013

Salem inventor competes in business competition

Salem woman a finalist in startup contest

SALEM — Melissa Tagliamonte isn’t about to quit her day job any time soon, but the budding inventor may well be on her way to becoming an entrepreneur.

The 39-year-old mother of two has designed Dreamy Paws Pet Bed — a soft, portable place for dogs and cats to sleep.

But it’s not your typical pet bed, it also includes space to store supplies and anything else Fido may need, Tagliamonte said.

“How many people staying at a hotel wish they brought their bed with them?” she said. “Now, they can bring their pet’s bed and luggage in one carrying case.”

Her invention has won her recognition as one of six finalists in a business start-up competition being held tonight in Manchester. Tagliamonte and the other finalists were chosen from among 30 people in the contest hosted by the Manchester Young Professionals Network.

“It’s exciting,” Tagliamonte said. “This is for that person who wants convenience and style for their pet.”

She must pitch her product and business plan to a panel of judges, who will narrow the finalists to two.

“I can’t wait to talk about it,” said Tagliamonte, who has more than 15 years of experience in sales and marketing.

The winner, who receives $55,000 in prizes and cash, will be announced at a reception in June, according to E.J. Powers, co-chairman of the NH Startup Challenge.

Powers, one of the judges, said yesterday he was impressed with Tagliamonte’s product, for which she has developed a prototype and is obtaining a patent.

“We’re excited to have her pitch her pet bed,” he said.

Powers said Tagliamonte, a member of the network, stands out from the rest of the finalists because they are technology-based businesses. The others, most of which are from Manchester, are: Regaalo, the New England Culinary Center, Ustablize, TechLok and Test Soup.

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