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AACC's $100,000 Business Pitch Competition

In AACC’s version of the ABC Network’s “Shark Tank,” credit and noncredit students who have successfully completed an AACC course in the last year compete for money to support their business venture. Students submit a comprehensive business plan and finalists pitch their idea to a panel of judges who evaluate and determine awards.

In spring 2018, nine businesses received seed funds ranging from $1,000 to $15,000 for a total of $50,000. One company received a one-year membership in the Hatchery, AACC's student business incubator, and six new $10,000 scholarships were awarded. This competition provided over $100,000 for students.

Critical Dates for this Year's Competition

Jan. 29 – Kickoff Event and Information Meeting

March 11-15 – Business Plan coaching

March 25-28 – Business Plan coaching

March 29 – Business Pitch Competition application due by noon online

April 11 – Finalists announced

April 15-19 – Business Pitch coaching

April 25 – Business Pitch Competition live pitch and awards ceremony

How Do I Apply?

The Business Pitch Competition is open to all students enrolled at AACC or those who completed a credit or noncredit class between July 1, 2018, and March 29, 2019. Your team can be a single person or many people, but at least 50 percent of them must be AACC students. Full details are provided in the Business Pitch Competition 2019 Official Rules, Requirements and Judging Criteria.

Conduct research and get resources for the Business Pitch Competition with our library guide.

Can non-Entrepreneurial Studies students enter the competition?

Yes. The Business Pitch Competition is open to all AACC students who took classes this academic year (between July 1, 2018, and March 29, 2019). This includes students who took classes in the summer, fall or winter, or who are enrolled in credit or noncredit courses.

Is it OK to have just one person or do I need to have a team?

Yes. It is OK to have just one person, although many startups thrive with a team of founders.

Do all of my team members need to be AACC students?

No. At least 50 percent of the team, preferably more, must be AACC students who meet the enrollment requirements outlined in the first question’s response.

Am I allowed to have a faculty member or prior winner as a mentor for the BPC?

Yes. You also can meet new mentors during the required coaching sessions.

Do I have to meet with a BPC and a Pitch coach to compete?

Yes. You must meet with a business coach prior to submitting to the competition. We have been doing this for more than 10 years and one thing we have learned is coaching has a significant impact on student success. You may find this requirement inconvenient now, but you will thank us later.

Can I get a student to take my company's idea through the competition?

The BPC is a competition for student-driven companies. We have a strict policy guiding outside companies recruiting students to join their team in order to compete.

Students must have an ownership stake in the business or the potential for equity and employment. Only student team members are eligible to earn prize money. No payments will be made to nonstudents.

Can I compete two years in a row?

Students are welcome and encouraged to participate as many times as they want – as long as they meet the enrollment requirements outlined in the response to the first question.

Can I change the name of the business at some point during the competition?

Yes. You are allowed to change your company name during the competition. We recommend that you reference the name change in your documents such as in the one-page executive summary or business plan.

Can I have more than four members on my team?

Most teams consist of three to five people, but you can have as many people on your team as you like. There is no official limit. However, only two members of the team who are AACC students can pitch to the judges.

Is the list of judges for the Business Pitch Competition available to the participants?

We don’t release the names of the judges prior to the pitch presentations. You will meet them on Pitch day.

Is the BPC Pitch Day open to the public?

Yes. Students, faculty and staff at AACC are invited to attend. Participants also may choose to invite friends and family to attend. There is no fee to attend.

Do judges, coaches or audience members sign nondisclosure agreements?

Judges, coaches and audience members do not sign nondisclosure agreements. This is common practice in the entrepreneurial world, especially when you are pitching your idea to investors. You should figure out a way to talk about your business, but not give away the confidential information that could be patented, trademarked or that is simply your secret sauce.

2018 Business Pitch Award Winners

The 2018 Business Pitch Competition took place April 26, 2018. $50,000 in seed funds were awarded to the winners that can be seen below.

View the 2018 Business Pitch Competition Awards Ceremony.

Business Pitch 2018 - TL2Woodworking 300x300

TL² Woodworking
Tyler Loh received $15,000 to start his woodworking business. TL² Woodworking makes custom products using reclaimed materials like pallets, metals, fallen tree slabs and much more. TL² Woodworking takes any materials, new or reclaimed, to create something purposeful that will make a statement in your home.


Business Pitch 2018 - FantaSEA 300x300

FantaSEA Aquariums
Dalton Leonard received $10,000 for his aquarium maintenance and service company. FantaSEA Aquariums is the leading aquarium installation and maintenance company in Annapolis. While specializing in saltwater reef aquariums, FantaSEA Aquariums helps individuals own and enjoy complex, coral reef systems. Their motto is, "We get our hands wet, so you don't have to."



Business Pitch 2018 - Elated-Harmonies 300x300

Elated Harmonies Massage
Nora Carter, Shanice Ruffin and Shannon Ruffin received $8,000 for their therapeutic massage business. Elated Harmonies Massage provides therapeutic massage services and products, in-studio and on-location, that encourages individuals to invest in moments of peace.

Business Pitch 2018 - Annapolis-Ascent 300x300

Annapolis Ascent
Hunter Davis, Nathaniel Disney and Nicholas Kiraly received $5,000 for their business that uses drone technology. Annapolis Ascent provides clear, high definition, aerial pictures and video using drone technology for real estate marketing. Their products include custom soundtracks and extensive editing to assist real estate agents in a cost effective way.


Business Pitch 2018 - Happy-Chicken 300x300

Happy Chicken Bakery
Martha Walton received $5,000 for her custom order bakery and catering company. Happy Chicken Bakery uses products and ingredients from local family farms to provide the freshest, highest quality product possible. Happy Chicken provides wedding cakes, specialty cakes, in-home chef services, corporate lunches and more.


Business Pitch 2018 - Blue-Photo-Bus 300x300

Adreana "Gigi" Maresca received $2,500 for her alternative entertainment platform. The BluePhotoBus provides a photo booth style experience where patrons sit inside a 1976 Volkswagen bus and pose for pictures. Plus, BluePhotoBus provides patrons with theatrical props that they can use during their photo session. Each photo session generates a photo strip, which contains four distinct pictures of the client(s) sitting inside the BluePhotoBus.

Business Pitch 2018 - Real-Food-Store-Tours 300x300

Real Food Store Tours
Amanda Behrens received $2,000 for her consulting as a real food coach. The mission of Real Food Store Tours LLC is to reconnect people with their health by providing personalized, in-person grocery store tours and online wellness coaching via email and/or Skype.


Business Pitch 2018 - Street-Trash 300x300

Street Trash
Romisa Clark received $1,500 for her clothing line. Street Trash Inc. is a street wear line of women's clothing designed by a woman made for women. Street Trash is made from 100 percent organic cotton, vintage fabrics and upcycled materials that embody the street wear culture of being socially conscious and environmentally friendly.


Business Pitch 2018 - Bubbles-N-Blocks 300x300

Bubbles & Blocks Playhouse
Keisha Wiggins received $1,000 for her child care service. Bubbles & Blocks Playhouse is a place to play, learn and grow together providing child care services in Anne Arundel County. Bubbles & Blocks Playhouse provides life enrichment programs and learning curricula that are aligned with the Maryland State Department of Education for school readiness and learning for each child's social, emotional and physical growth and development at affordable rates.


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TL² Woodworking - $15,000 Winner

FantaSea Aquariums: $10,000 Winner

Elated Harmonies: $8,000 Winner

Check out the rest of our Business Pitch Competition winners