Master Sergeant Norman Anderson’s final pitch at the Tennessee Veterans Business Association’s annual business expo earned a $5,000 grant for his company, Clear Image Solutions, from The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto. Anderson has designed and produced a rifle sight for the AR 15 rifle that is easy to use, easy to maintain, and affordable.
Anderson was one of three finalists to make their pitch yesterday as part of INVEST, an annual business competition for veterans from The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto. The competition is open to East Tennessee veteran entrepreneurs who have been in business for fewer than three years. New startups, like Clear Image Solutions, were also encouraged to apply. All applicants were invited to participate in a four-part Business Bootcamp, hosted by the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. Each applicant submitted an executive summary of their business idea, and the three finalists were selected.
“This competition has gotten better each year, and this year’s decision was very difficult,” explained Andrew Roberto, founder of the competition. “We wish that we could invest in all three of the finalists, but Norman’s presentation really won us over.”
Anderson has spent more than 20 years as a marksmanship instructor with the United States Army. It was this passion for marksmanship and teaching marksmanship that led him to found Clear Image Solutions “on the idea that there had to be a better way to not only teach and learn marksmanship, but also to engage targets faster and more effectively.”
The sight designed by Clear Image Solutions allows the user to choose the size and color of the fiber optic aiming point reference. These features are fully interchangeable without the need for any tools or external power source. Every part of the sight is easily replaceable by the user, eliminating down time.
Anderson expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of the INVEST competition and his surprise at winning the grand prize. “I felt pretty good about my presentation,” he said, “but after listening to the other two, I was convinced that I would come in third place.”
Anderson says that the $5,000 investment will have an immediate impact. “We’ve invested nearly $20,000 in the development of this product over the last seven years,” he explained. “This $5,000 will enable us to start production immediately debt free.”
The other finalists were Dr. Jay Crawford of Rockhopper ZSG, and John McMillian of Shockwave Motors. Dr. Crawford, an orthopedic surgeon with Knoxville Orthopedic Clinics, has designed NextDocVisit, a software package and mobile app that streamlines communication between doctors and their patients. It not only improves the bottom line for doctors’ practices, but has also proven to increase patient satisfaction. John McMillian has designed and produced the Defiant Roadster, an electric vehicle with a range of 200 miles that will be available for around $25,000.
“We started this competition to encourage entrepreneurship among our veterans and we always hoped that successful entrepreneurs would be able to provide more jobs for more veterans,” explained Roberto. “Each of these entrepreneurs shares that vision and we wish each of them the best of luck in their endeavors.”