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Ideas for a better future

CCBC's Center for Business Innovation works to expand the economy one business at a time.

The Center for Business Innovation (CBI) is dedicated to serving CCBC students and alumni who are interested in learning how to turn their ideas for new products, services, business and organizations into sustainable entities. Entrepreneurial-minded students and alumni are mentored by School of Business, Technology & Law faculty and local business owners.

Our goals:
  • promote entrepreneurship among students & alumni
  • foster economic development in the community
  • help students apply classroom concepts to real-world challenges

Center for Business Innovation offerings

Entrepreneurship Classes

Earn credits and learn how to launch a business.

In addition to offering ACBSP accredited business and management courses, CCBC also offers a unique course, MNGT 216, that allows students to serve as consultants to a start-up so they can apply the principles and concepts in the classroom to a real business.

Students earn 3 credits in this unique elective. There are no exams and there are no textbooks. Instead, students evaluate each other's performance as they work in teams to help a business get started. Leading the students is Associate Professor Dennis Sullivan, who has launched more than 100 products and businesses in his career.

Why Entrepreneurship?

In nearly all of our business studies classes at CCBC, more than half of our students say they would like to start a business someday. National research supports this trend. Among Gen Y students, those between 18 and 29, the third-most common college major is “entrepreneurial studies,” according to

A Kauffman Foundation report adds that there are now 2,335 full-time undergraduate and graduate programs in the U.S. to meet the growing demand for students interested in studying entrepreneurship. It’s not crazy to think that businesses can be started while taking college classes or soon afterwards.

Google, Time, Reddit, Insomnia Cookies, Fed Ex, Microsoft, Dell and Facebook were all started by their founders while still in college. All started as small businesses. In fact, 89.3% of all U.S. businesses employ less than 20 people, according to the United States Census Bureau. In Maryland, 85.2% of businesses have less than 20 employees.

Learning how to launch a product or idea is a skill that is in high demand today. One out of three employers are looking for employees who have a background in entrepreneurship, according to a survey by Experience Inc.

Business Plan Competition

Turn your idea into a winning plan and earn seed money.

The Annual Business Plan Competition is open to students and alumni of CCBC who are interested in turning their idea for a new product or service into a business.

Have an idea for a new product, service or business? Submit your business plan to CCBC’s Center for Business Innovation Annual Business Plan Competition (BPC) and you could win up to $20,000 in seed money. A total of $62,500 in seed money will be award to the top 6 winners. The purpose of the competition is to encourage new businesses. The competition is designed to promote start-up ideas and economic development among CCBC students and alumni with the support of faculty and local entrepreneurs. The winners are also eligible to participate in the Center for Business Innovation (CBI) incubation network that provides support in the areas of marketing and sales, website development, technology, accounting, human resources, management as well as access to investors and creditors, which can be invaluable for any start-up.

Learn more about the Business Plan Competition » 

Business Mentorship

Mentor other entrepreneurs. Receive mentoring from entrepreneurs.

If the greatest athletes and most successful CEOs need coaches, a new business owner certainly could benefit from a mentor too. That's why participants in the Annual Business Plan Competition are matched with business owners who can help guide them and advise as they work on their business plans. Call it our secret sauce. It's an unique opportunity for participants to get valuable advice from other entrepreneurs and for business owners to share their unique experiences and passion for business.

Mentors who have served as volunteers to entrepreneurs include:
  • Laurence Aaronson, Professor Emeritus, CCBC
  • Oswaldo Acosta, Chief Credit Officer and Head of Small Business Programs, Latino Economic Development Center
  • Eli Adams, General Manager, Residence Inn at Marriott
  • Ann C. Ansel, CRPC, President, Redmer Financial Group
  • Beth Baunoch, Assistant Professor, MCOM, CCBC
  • John Bowen, CPA, Assistant Professor, Accounting, CCBC
  • Vernon Brokke Sr., Owner and Coach, The Growth Coach
  • James Bryant, Associate Professor & Coordinator of Accounting, CCBC
  • Paul Coakley, Professor Emeritus, former Chair of Business Studies, CCBC
  • David Gnibus, Adjunct Faculty, Student Services, CCBC
  • Tim Faith, Esq., Assistant Professor, Legal, CCBC
  • Will Ferguson, Senior Business Broker, Balto. Wash. Business Brokerage LLC.
  • Robert Frey, Vice President, The Columbia Bank
  • Jennifer Joyner, Assistant Professor & Coordinator of Economic, CCBC
  • Chip Lambertson, Vice President, Cost & Schedule Group, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
  • Leonard R. Lee, Small Business Advisor, SBA Technical Assistance Provider
  • Kelly Lemons, Ed.D., Assistant Professor, Accounting, CCBC
  • Aleasha Lewis, Owner, EarthTouch Healing Arts
  • Donna Mandl, M.A., J.D., Department Chair, Legal, CCBC
  • Sean J. McEvoy, Assistant Commissioner - Public Policy and Consumer Services, Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation, DLLR
  • Natasha Muhammad, Executive Director, EYE for Change
  • Omar S. Muhammad, Director, Entrepreneurial Development & Assistance Center (EDAC), Earl G. Graves School of Bus & Management, Morgan State University
  • Tariq Najee-ullah, Registered Patent Agent, Patent Insider
  • Veronica Noone, Assistant Professor, School of Technology, Art & Design, CCBC
  • Michael D. Oliver, Esq., Oliver & Grimsley LLC
  • William Osborne, Assistant Professor, CCBC
  • Sheryl Parks, MSF, CFP, Associate Professor, Financial, CCBC
  • Darren M. Peyton, Business Consultant, SBDC Northern Region
  • Wendi Rea, Finance Manager, General Motors
  • Rafael E. Reyes, Technical Service Director, Toyota
  • Yanky Schorr, Vice President, Residential Title & Escrow Company
  • Keith & Rebecca Klein Small, CEOs, TALLsmall Productions LLC
  • Dan & Maude Swearingen, Owners, Fully Promoted Arbutus
  • Jay Whitelock, Associate Professor, Finance Department, CCBC
  • Aneka Winstead, Owner, WATT Business Solutions
  • Nancy Zimmerman, Associate Professor, Business Studies, CCBC

Business Tools and Resources

Learn about COVID-19 resources

CCBC Library

Small Business Research Guide that includes information for entrepreneurs on business plans, legal concerns, marketing & sales and much more. Guide also provides online books, valuable resources, and helpful videos.

Maryland Business Express

Plan, Start, Manage and Grow your Business. Get resources to help your business succeed.

Maryland Small Business Development Center

Offers free individualized consulting, from start-up to established businesses. They also offer comprehensive training programs, from those just thinking about starting a business to executive training, with most classes at low to no cost.

Entrepreneurship & Small Business Resource Guide

This is an excellent tool with a long list of resources available from Job Hero on topics such as HR, Marketing, Small Business Industry Groups, Blogs, Podcasts, and Publications.


Sponsors help to make this Center possible. View our latest sponsors » 

If you’re interested in sponsoring the Center for Business Innovation, contact Dennis Sullivan at

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