FSU duo rewarded for start-up

Nicki Ekhomu with the grand prize check. Photo courtesy: Ekhomu

The idea all came about when former FSU women’s basketball player Nicki Ekhomu realized that there weren’t many wireless and affordable rehabilitation devices for athletes.

Ekhomu instantly knew to contact her former student manager with the women’s basketball team, Armon’da Davis.

To bring the idea to life the pair started to search for regulations, designs and testing of the product. Two years later the Equalizer was created.

The Equalizer is an all-inclusive physical rehabilitation device meant to help with pain management and recovery.  The device offers heating, cooling and massaging features that can be utilized. All while being small enough to be a handheld pocket device

While noticing that technology is an underutilized lane for business start-ups, Ekhomu took initiative. After being satisfied with the complete design and usage of the device Ekhomu decided to apply for the Black Ambition Conference, which is a conference that awards money for new innovative business ideas. According to wtxl.com, the results took three months to be turned in. The Equalizer won a $50,000 prize and an extra $35,000 in resources such as advertising and ASW credits.

Winning this prize gave the pair feelings that one could not describe.

“It was one of those moments where you’re reading and you’re like wait what? I remember the first thing I did was call my mom and grandma,” Ekhomu said.

Davis said that even though they are not from medical or technology backgrounds she thinks this win gets them in the door and gives them the motivation they need to continue down this path. This victory gives them insurance that they know what they are doing in this space, she said.

Landing a win of such nature is huge for the Tallahassee community. The president of Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce, Antonio Jefferson, said that since COVID-19 minority start-up businesses have grown but none of those businesses are being landed in the Tallahassee community and the main priority is to retain these businesses locally.

Ekhomu believes that she is holding the door open for other small start-up businesses to come in because if no one else does it, no one will. We must look out for those close to us, she said. This is important as many start-ups may not realize or understand the resources that are available to them locally.