Across the UB campus, entrepreneurship is gaining steam. As a result, more students are relying on the Merrick School of Business’ Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to help them achieve their goals of creating new ventures. One of the ways the center supports students and helps them on the path to success is through business-idea competitions.
In late September, the center hosted its second annual Startup University of Baltimore Business-Idea Pitch Competition. All UB students were invited to compete for cash prizes and a chance to pitch their business ideas to some of Maryland’s most seasoned entrepreneurs. What’s more, the pitches took place on the Startup Maryland bus, which was built to allow entrepreneurs to quickly pitch their ideas to professionals while being videotaped and then to have their ideas voted on by the public. The University of Baltimore was a co-sponsor again this year, and one of the stops for the statewide tour taken by the bus.
Students from three of the University’s four colleges submitted their ideas. Out of 30 submissions, nine were selected to compete for the cash prizes. In the end, two were deemed UB’s top entrepreneurs:
- Brad Fisher, a senior in the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences’ Simulation and Digital Entertainment program, who walked away with the $750 first prize for his idea to use 3D technology to revolutionize retailers’ methods of advertising their products.
- Jesse Alton, a junior in the School of Business’ Entrepreneurship Fellows program, who netted the runner-up slot for his idea to produce low-cost, biodegradable sandals.
Johnetta Hardy, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, is working hard to infuse a focus on entrepreneurship throughout the University. She believes it differentiates UB from other institutions.
“This University has students earning degrees in innovative and creative fields,” Hardy said. “The center is here to guide them and help make connections throughout the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Hardy also noted her belief that students, alumni and faculty can have an even more remarkable impact on the city, state and beyond once entrepreneurship is further integrated into the University’s curriculum, embraced as an institutional cultural norm and linked to incentives and rewards for particularly innovative ideas.
“This competition was one way to reward our best student entrepreneurs,” she said. “All 30 students should be congratulated for the hours of work they put into their pitch submissions. I can only imagine the impact they will have going forward. I can’t wait to see who will rise to the challenge to be our next great entrepreneur.”
Both Fisher and Alton had an opportunity to pitch their ideas in the Startup Maryland bus on Sept. 27. The Startup Maryland website posted YouTube videos of all the pitches and viewers were encouraged to vote for their favorite entrepreneurial ideas in the category of “Fan Favorites.” A group of esteemed venture capitalist and angel investors will also determine the companies that have the strongest potential to be high growth company.
View photos from the Startup University of Baltimore and Startup Maryland events.