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The Pinnacle Entrepreneur Prize Awarded at Howard Community College’s Spring Entrepreneurial Celebration

student presents business idea at competition

Columbia, MD – A large crowd was on hand to watch twelve Howard Community College (HCC) students pitch their innovative business ideas in a judged competition during the college’s May 2, 2017 Entrepreneurial Celebration, sponsored by HCC’s Center for Entrepreneurial & Business Excellence (CEBE), Pinnacle Advisory Group, Inc., Howard County Chamber of Commerce, Howard County Economic Development Authority, and Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship.

In this bi-annual event, select students from HCC’s introductory entrepreneurship and creativity course have five minutes each to present their business ideas to a panel of entrepreneurial business professionals. The judges score the students on quality of presentation, content, and time. The top scorers receive the Pinnacle Entrepreneur Prize, with an award of $1,800 for first place, and $700 for placing second. The CEBE awards the third place winner and the People’s Choice with a cash prize.

Additionally, the Howard County Chamber of Commerce hosts the top two student winners from both the fall and spring competitions for an entrepreneurial showdown at the Chamber Annual Meeting on May 18, 2017.

Pinnacle Advisory Group, Inc., Director of Sales & Marketing John Riina, awarded the following students:

1st place and “People’s Choice” to Thomas Harsham for his presentation of FlashServe, a platform to ensure the ultimate public dining experience.

2nd place to Megan Whalen for her presentation of Kai, a business that will harness wave currents to produce energy. 

3rd place to Brandon Banh for his presentation of Powerswap, a device that allows users to share power between mobile devices for ease in charging.

The Pinnacle Pitch judges are selected for their proven business acumen and entrepreneurial experience, and the CEBE gratefully acknowledges the volunteer services and contributions of the following five judges to the Spring 2017 Entrepreneurial Celebration:  

Aaron Altscher, chief executive officer, Handteq;

Paige Donahue, Ratcliffe Entrepreneurship Fellow, University of Baltimore;

Paul Hogan, computer science faculty, Howard Community College;

Tracy Lee Turner, director, Howard Tech Council, Howard County Economic Development Authority; and

Sharon Brackett, chief executive officer, Tiresias Technologies.

The Center for Entrepreneurial & Business Excellence (CEBE) helps aspiring and existing business owners and students develop themselves and their businesses by utilizing the Center’s programs, services, and resources, including degree and certificate programs in entrepreneurship, and individualized coaching programs to guide aspiring entrepreneurs from assessment through business launch. Visit or call 443-518-1520 for more information.

For information on how to apply and register for classes at Howard Community College, visit  Summer 2017 classes start May 30. Fall classes begin on August 26.

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