CCBC students and alumni compete for seed money to turn their Ideas into new businesses

Feb 11, 2015 | by Hope Davis | 443.840.5053 (office) | 443.840.5560 (cell)

Baltimore County, MD – More than 60 Community College of Baltimore County students and alumni competed in the second annual CCBC Business Plan Competition a unique event that is inspiring entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to turn their ideas for new products and services into businesses.

In the coming months, the four winners of the 2014 competition will use the $2,000 awarded by CCBC’s Center for Business Innovation as seed money to launch new businesses. The winners also have the opportunity to work with top students from the Business and Financial Studies departments who will support these four new business owners by creating websites, marketing brochures and sales materials.

“What makes this competition so unique is that students and alumni not only get the opportunity to launch a start-up but other business studies students get the opportunity to help them build the new businesses,” says Dennis Sullivan, assistant professor and executive director of the Center for Business Innovation. “More importantly, we have the opportunity to teach students the value of an entrepreneurial mindset, which is one of the most valuable skills in today’s economy. Students can use this skill for the rest of their lives no matter where they work.”

Students and alumni began the competition last October but only seven made it to the final round, held Jan. 24, 2015, before a panel of five judges at Rolling Road Country Club in Catonsville, Md. This is CCBC’s version of the hit TV show, Shark Tank. Participants are required to submit a business plan and have only 15 minutes to pitch their idea before the judges.

This year’s judges were: Marc Fischer, Executive Vice President, Colliers International; Terry Gilleland, Director, Learning Solutions at Laurette Education, Inc.; Karen Gatzke, Board of Directors, Catonsville Chamber of Commerce; Frank van Vliet, Executive in Residence, University of Baltimore; and Kenneth Westary, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, CCBC.

After the judging CCBC President Sandra L. Kurtinitis congratulated the participants for dedicating their time and energy to apply the skills they have learned at CCBC to develop new business ideas. CCBC Foundation Chairman and entrepreneur, Richard Yaffe, delivered the keynote address encouraging more people to pursue their dream of entrepreneurship.

The 2014 CCBC Business Plan Competition winners are:
First Place:
Takia Ross who is launching Accessmetized, a mobile make-up service for women of all ages.

Second Place:
Terry Donohue and Larry Robinson for Avid Plant Healthcare, which specializes in caring for the plants and lawns for residential, commercial and municipal clients.

Honorable Mention:
Jerina Bryant, who is launching Extraordinary Events decorating service
Daniela Beall, who is launching GroWellness Massage Therapy that focuses on special care for trauma victims.

“This really is a celebration, not just of the award winners, but of the entire Business Studies and Financial Studies departments as well as business owners from the community who served as mentors to the participants,” adds Sullivan. “Any entrepreneur will tell you they could never have succeeded on their own. And it’s nice to know that at CCBC aspiring entrepreneurs who are daring to dream big have the support of people like Associate Professor Jim Bryant, Chairs Rosemarie Cramer and Jane Mattes, Dean Dennis Seymour and CCBC President Sandra Kurtinitis.”

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About the Community College of Baltimore County (
CCBC offers hundreds of programs and thousands of courses helping people of all ages, backgrounds and interests earn degrees, transfer, launch or advance careers, and prepare for in-demand jobs.

Providing accessible, affordable and high-quality education since 1957, CCBC educates more than 70,000 students each year, including half of all Baltimore County residents attending college in Maryland as undergraduates. Committed to student success and the development of lifelong learners who strengthen our regional workforce and enrich our community, CCBC has also been selected to participate in Achieving the Dream, a national student success initiative. In 2011, the Chronicle of Education honored CCBC as one of only 26 community colleges across the nation named “Great Colleges to Work For.”

CCBC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, 2nd Floor West, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (267-284-5000). The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

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