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AACC awards $75,000 to student businesses

May 1, 2023 

Anne Arundel Community College awarded student business owner Peter Papanicolaou $25,000 in funds for his business, Unity Electric, during the annual Business Pitch Competition on April 25. The other seven finalists received amounts between $1,000 and $20,000 for their businesses.

  • $25,000 to Unity Electric presented by Peter Papanicolaou
  • $20,000 to Mogel's Amusements presented by McLain Mogel
  • $18,000 to Save the Day Escape Rooms presented by Sandie Horne
  • $5,000 to Dumpstars of Maryland presented by Zachary Waller
  • $3,000 to Soundglide presented by David Pollak
  • $2,000 to Cocoa & Pearl Bakery presented by Hannah Gribbin
  • $1,000 to FreshLeap Coaching and Consulting presented by Chris DeGuzman
  • $1,000 to Mindful Movements presented by Daniel Levy, Jacob Rosenblatt and Jacob Rosenbloom

McLain Mogel, who is working toward degrees in engineering transfer and mathematics, owns Mogel’s Amusements. He asked for funding to “kickstart the exponential growth rate that comes with a vending ATM and arcade machine business.”

The competition is run similar to the network show, “Shark Tank,” where people with an idea for a new business or product pitch their business concept to a group of business and investment judges.

The finalists gave a two-minute live pitch and addressed questions from a panel of judges during the event. They also provided a business plan and financial projections in their application.

Judges included two local business leaders, a representative from SCORE and a representative from the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation. The Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation provided the funds to make this competition possible.

"The Ratcliffe Foundation has been honored to support the AACC Business Pitch Competition for the past 20 years,” said Tina Davenport, board member of The Ratcliffe Foundation and judge for the competition. “Judging the competition is exciting, interesting and challenging. The competitors are always well-prepared and enthusiastic. I look forward to the competition every year."

The Business Pitch Competition is open to all students enrolled at AACC or who completed a credit or noncredit class between July 1, 2022, and April 1, 2023. The team can be a single person or multiple people as long as at least 50% of the team are AACC students.

“It is an honor to celebrate ESI's 20th anniversary. I have seen our students start businesses, continue their education and entrepreneurial journeys, and return to AACC as coaches, judges and mentors," Entrepreneurial Studies Institute Academic Chair and Associate Professor Stephanie Goldenberg said. “We have built an entrepreneurial community where our students and alumni connect and support one another.”

For information about AACC's resources for student businesses, visit the Entrepreneurial Studies Institute webpage.


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