CCBC Center for Business Innovation’s 9th Annual Business Plan Competition awards $62,500 in prize money to aspiring entrepreneurs

Feb 02, 2022 | by Lisa Harlow | 443.840.4668 (office) | 443.610.3246 (cell)

Community College of Baltimore County’s Center for Business Innovation hosted its 9th Annual Business Plan Competition Virtual Awards Banquet on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022.

The event featured the top 12 pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs, all of whom are CCBC students or alumni. The winners shared a total of $62,500 in seed money to be used as start-up capital for their new or growing businesses.

A first this year, all six winners are women-owned businesses, which is consistent with the current national trend. According to a Small Business Trends survey, 31% of all small business or franchise owners are women – up from 27% last year.

Prize money was made possible by the generous support of the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation, which has awarded more than $1 million in grant funding to expand the Center for Business Innovation. In addition to the start-up capital to support entrepreneurs, the grant provides instructional support to develop new courses and workshops to strengthen the business acumen for those interested in starting a new business.

This year’s first-place prize of $20,000 was awarded to Baltimore City resident Krystal Henry of Around the Way Parchment, a full-service stationery design firm connected to African-American and popular culture dedicated to strengthening interpersonal relationships and building stronger connections one piece of paper at a time.

“This $20,000 investment will allow me to expand my merchandise beyond greeting cards to include additional stationery items, to purchase equipment and to prepare my online system for wholesale orders,” said Henry, who was also the winner of the pitch competition at the Center for Business Innovation’s B’More BOLD Business Conference for Entrepreneurs and Innovators last June. “I’m passionate about my business, and I am glad that my passion was able to be conveyed. I’m thrilled and I’m excited.”

Other winners included:

Second place ($15,000): Nina Ross of Nina’s Cookie Explosion, a cookie company that allows customers to mix and match their favorite doughs and toppings to make the perfect cookie or cookie dough.

Third place ($10,000): Hannah O’Brien of Hemp Hills Farm CBD & Wellness, one of the first licensed hemp growers and processors in the state of Maryland and a true seed-to-shelf company that manufactures and sells a full line of Phyto cannabinoids products, the most popular being CBD and CBG.

Fourth place ($7,500): Lucy Mwai of Bakari Trading, LLC, a company that sources and distributes sustainably-sourced teas and dry goods from FDA-certified companies in Kenya and supplies ethnic food to wholesalers and retailers in the DMV and other states.

Runner-up ($5,000): Jasmine Richey of Crystell Collection, a high end hair accessory brand that was created to make women feel more confident and home of the Halo Headscarf which has been designed and constructed to be the first ever head scarf in the market that does not fall off throughout the day as women wear it.

Runner-up ($5,000): Yalkmikia Edmonds of Levonye Professionals Brand, LLC, a hair restoration company that helps men, women and children restore their hair by providing them with non-surgical hair replacements with specialty treatments, topicals, supplements and therapy.

The CCBC Center for Business Innovation is dedicated to serving CCBC students and alumni who are interested in learning how to turn their ideas for new products, services, businesses and organizations into sustainable entities. Entrepreneurial-minded students and alumni are mentored by CCBC faculty and local business owners. For more information, visit


About the Community College of Baltimore County (
Since 1957, CCBC has opened the doors to accessible, affordable, high-quality education empowering generations of area residents to transform their lives and the lives of others. Each year, nearly 50,000 students enroll at the college’s main campuses, extension centers and online to make their starts, earn degrees, launch and build careers. CCBC offers the region’s most expansive selection of degree, certificate and workplace certification programs that prepare students for transfer, job entry and career advancement in such industries as business, education, health care, information technology, cybersecurity, construction, and transportation. Designated as the “Best Community College” among the Maryland Daily Record’s 2021 Reader Rankings, CCBC is also nationally recognized as a leader in innovative learning strategies and among the nation’s top associate degree producers.

Tags: Business, Business Innovation, Press, Awards, Community