Cedar Rapidian competing in entrepreneur search

Will showcase slow cooker on Home Shopping Network

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A Cedar Rapids entrepreneur and business owner is moving to the semifinal round of a nationwide contest that will offer him a chance to showcase his invention to consumers around the country.

Gerald Beranek has been selected among 100 entrepreneurs to showcase his invention in the semifinal round of the American Dreams initiative, a product search contest created by Home Shopping Network (HSN) and Good Housekeeping magazine executives.

Beranek, founder and CEO of product design and manufacturing company BeraTek Industries in Cedar Rapids, invented the Hold and Go Slow Cooker. The handle locks and seals the lid for travel, and has a built-in feature that props the lid open.

While the slow cooker is outsourced, Beranek designed and manufactures the handle. The product costs $59.99.

Beranek will travel to HSN’s headquarters in St. Petersburg, Fla., for three days of judging by a panel of company executives from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1.

“I’m confident (we‘ll win),” Beranek said. “We have a unique product that’s never been seen before.”

While in Flordia, he will pitch his idea to HSN experts on Aug. 31. Beranek said judges will select competitors to go on HSN to pitch their product to a television audience.

Up to 10 finalists will be selected in September for the next round of the initiative. They will be announced in the December issue of Good Housekeeping.

The winner will be announced in the April 2017 issue of the magazine, said Meliz Andiroglu, public relations manager at HSN, and will be featured on HSN and in Good Housekeeping.

The winner’s product also will have a chance to be tested in the Good Housekeeping Institute to receive the Good Housekeeping Seal, or the institute’s stamp of approval, for one year.

Beranek designed the Hold and Go Slow Cooker in 2013, and began selling the product in July 2015.

On Nov. 30, 2015, the slow cooker was featured in an episode of Rachael Ray, where it was used by the celebrity chef and about 160 cookers were given to audience members. Sales boomed after the episode aired, reaching nearly $17,000.

“We got about 300 orders in two hours,” Beranek said.

Beranek has eight products from BeraTek Industries in production, all of which are sold on Amazon and BeraTek’s websites.

Despite his selection for the American Dreams initiative, Beranek said he will continue to focus on growing his business and creating more products.

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