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The Pinnacle Entrepreneur Prize awarded in Howard Community College’s Center for Entrepreneurial and Business Excellence Fall 2016 Celebration

Columbia, MD – Thirteen Howard Community College (HCC) students pitched their innovative business ideas to a capacity crowd on December 6, 2016 in a judged competition during the college’s Fall 2016 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. In addition, 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.

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

1st place to Melissa Robbins for her presentation of RADD, an application designed for children with ADD/ADHD to provide tools to manage attention disorders in a natural way that is fun and engaging.

2nd place to Jade Lorain for her presentation of Jaded Pets, a convenient, unique vending machine for dog parks where pet parents can purchase last minute necessities and donate to a local animal shelter. Lorain was also the recipient of the People’s Choice Award, voted on by the audience at the event.

3rd place to Carly Cokas for her presentation of Colony Kombucha, a kombucha company that offers low calorie, full flavor beverages, and to Gabrielle Haussmann for her presentation of Carton, a meal planning and grocery service delivery app similar to Uber.

HCC alum Emily Kim, founder of Uma, Uma in Ellicott City, presented HCC entrepreneurship student Alicia Halliday with the Emily Kim by Uma, Uma and GEHMI Scholarship of $1,000.  In addition, the students, alumni, and business partners who are currently helping downtown Ellicott City shop owners create websites and revitalize their businesses in the wake of the historic flooding were also recognized.

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 Fall 2016 Entrepreneurial Celebration:

Peter O’Dunne, Owner,  Mid Atlantic Rubber;

Matthew Jung, HCC Alumni and University of Baltimore Radcliffe Fellow;

Jeffrey T. Agnor, Esq., Chair, Howard County Chamber of Commerce, Partner, Advis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny;

Tracy Lee Turner, Director, Howard Tech Council;

Cherise Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Inovious Technologies, LLC.

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.

Topics: Career Focus
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