BB&T is donating $15,000 to Anne Arundel Community College over the next three years as sponsor of the college’s Entrepreneurial Studies Institute’s Business Plan Competition, which took place this week.
“I am very pleased that BB&T Charitable Foundation is the major underwriter for the Entrepreneurial Studies Institute’s Business Plan Competition for the next three years,” said Hunter Calloway, BB&T senior vice president. “Part of BB&T's mission is to help make the communities we serve better places to live. That, along with our long-standing commitment to education, made our decision to support this effort an easy one.”
BB&T has 22 branches in Anne Arundel County. Formed in 1872, it serves markets throughout the southeast from Florida to Maryland. It is managed in 35 separate regions, each with its own president and management team, who operate the region like a local bank. One of those regions is located in Annapolis. Local decision-making along with the broad array of products offered by a major financial services company provides the communities it serves with attributes that clients desire.
The ESI Business Plan Competition was open to AACC credit or noncredit students or groups of students who were currently enrolled or who completed a course between March 15, 2004 and March 15, 2005. Business plan presentations mocked an investor presentation seeking a specified investment or loan for a proposed return. Plans were original and could involve a new start-up venture, a new product or market development for an existing venture that is less than three years old.
The three finalists selected to present their plans were Carie Cowing of Severna Park, Fitness Paradise; Jamie Pack of Bowie, Premier Contractors Inc.; and Nicole Zseltvay of Shady Side, RJZ Inc.
First place went to Pack, who is relocating the home remodeling business he has operated for several years from Virginia to Maryland. He also plans to expand the business. Michael E. Williams, senior vice president at BB&T and one of the event judges, said Pack’s experience in his industry was a principal factor in picking him over the other two.
Cowing, who wants to open a new fitness center for women, took second place. Williams said the judges felt that while her vision and zest were good, she needs to look hard at her competition and carve out a more unique market niche for her business.
Third place was awarded to Zseltvay, who wants to enter into a franchise agreement with CGI/Worldwide Express to offer overnight product and delivery service for DHL Corp. in Salisbury. While the judges were impressed with her knowledge and plan, Williams said they thought she needed to look at additional ways to attract customers and to convince them to use her service exclusively.
Also judging the event were Kimberly Cotterill, advertising consultant with the Baltimore Sun and John H. Elstner, chief executive officer of the Chesapeake Innovation Center. After each presentation, judges asked questions about facets of the proposals. Winners received cash prizes of $1,500 for first place; $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place.
Winners also have the option to use one cubicle in AACC’s new entrepreneurial resource center on the Arnold campus as the base for their business rent-free for one year. ESI provides business training through credit and noncredit classes for students or current business owners with aspirations of starting or improving their own businesses.
For information, call Carlene M. Cassidy, institute director, at 410-777-2161 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org