Student finalists from six public high schools in Frederick County tested their business acumen in the fifth year of a local competition called Startup Frederick, modeled on the TV show Shark Tank. The competition’s goals are to encourage entrepreneurship and to connect students and employers.
Eight school-level winners competed virtually, with submissions judged May 29. Some competed as individuals and others as teams. Two tied for 1st place: Middletown High School’s Molly Harris, whose project was called Cakes By Molly, and the Tuscarora High School team of Allison Fitzgerald, Kyle Sanger and Nora Schobel, with a company named The Blast Cap. Cakes By Molly is an operational business, and The Blast Cap’s project was a swim cap containing waterproof, Bluetooth speakers. Each of the 1st place finishers received $300 provided by Nymeo Federal Credit Union.
Student finalists had to pitch an entrepreneurial concept and business plan to a panel of leading business people who served as judges. The finalists, each of whom had won their school’s competition, had up to five minutes per team to pitch their ideas and an additional five minutes to respond to judges’ questions. Students were judged in five categories: creativity/innovation, product/service clarity, market potential, competitive landscape, and operational sustainability. Judging this year’s competition were Nymeo Compliance and Risk Director Eric Black, Dynamic Auto Vice President and co-founder Jose Bueso, and Mackintosh, Inc. Realtor Michael Kurtianyk.
In addition to the winners, student finalists and their high schools were John Adams and Andrew Soth from Brunswick, a team of Adam Buffington and Seth Sparta from Catoctin, Cole Torres also from Catoctin, a team of Cooper Gurrie, Samyak Jain and Larissa Rideout from Gov. Thomas Johnson, a team of Nirek Brahmbhatt, Jonathan Hammer and Aryan Kalathiya from Oakdale, and a team of Sam Mitchel, Gabe Rosella and Kevin Tu also from Oakdale.
Nymeo also provided prizes for 2nd through 8th place participants, ranging from $200 for 2nd place, to $100 for 3rd, and $50 each for 4th-8th places.