The auditorium at the University of Baltimore’s Merrick School of Business was standing room only on Tuesday night for pitches from student entrepreneurs.
The latest edition of the Leonard and Phyllis Attman Competitive Business Prize featured six student startups. It’s one part of the University of Baltimore’s increasing push to encourage entrepreneurship. According to UB Director of Entrepreneurship Henry Mortimer, the competition received 40 applications, which was a record.
As we’ve reported, UB students are building businesses in a variety of sectors of which tech is one category. Anyone looking for an example of that on Tuesday need look no further than the winner.
Shelby Blondell took home the big check to the tune of $2,500 with “The Sheller.” It’s a stainless steel tool that is part-crab mallett, part-knife, part-bottle opener. In other words, it’s made for a Maryland summer day. Blondell created a prototype at the Foundery makerspace in Port Covington.
Maryland pride was also on display with Tsao Baltimore. Founder Alan Tsao creates custom watches, and each have a Maryland flag image somewhere within the timepiece. While the pitch garnered comparisons to Shinola Detroit from judges, Tsao said he previously had a Kickstarter campaign that raised $115,000. That earned kudos from Demian Costa of Sagamore Ventures. Tsao picked up $500.
The crowd favorite on the evening was Jamey Gaylor, who created The Exceptional Kids Connection. It’s a platform to help link families with special needs children with support and resources. Gaylor’s pitch earned $250 for the company.
Other startups that pitched included:
- PerdidoFido, a pet collar which tracks health and links with vets. Founder Kayleigh Harkay said it also includes GPS and is self-recharging.
- Hooyo, a tea company making loose leaf blends with sustainably-sourced ingredients from founder James Gerst.
- Devil Dog Movers, a moving and junk removal company created by veteran Mike Robinson.