Oakdale High student wins Startup Frederick competition

Startup Frederick participants

Startup Frederick participants

Ninth annual competition modeled after ‘Shark Tank’ generates innovative business ideas

Frederick, MD (May 24, 2024) –  The Frederick County Public Schools Career and Technical Education curriculum department virtually hosted the ninth annual Startup Frederick competition on Thursday, May 16, using the FCPS MD YouTube livestream. During the event, $3,000 in prize money was up for grabs from event sponsor Nymeo Federal Credit Union. The competition, which is modeled after the TV show "Shark Tank," is meant to encourage entrepreneurship and connect students and employers.

First place was awarded to Abhinav Kamalkannan from Oakdale High School. He pitched his innovative food truck concept, Invasive Eats, which seeks to serve delicious invasive species seafood, while protecting local waterways and ecosystems.

Second place was awarded to Melanie Pereira and Sophia McCarthy from Gov. Thomas Johnson High whose business idea, Pull Safe, would assist in classroom door safety and security for school systems.

Third place was awarded to Hagar Moomen, Marilis Molina and Adaeze Obuekwe from Tuscarora High School for their business idea, Tomorrow’s Italian Ice, which would provide consumers with a healthier, dairy-free treat and a variety of toppings and flavors.

The event was emceed by Alexandra Ramos, who attends the FCPS Career and Technology Center and Oakdale High School.

Sixteen students from nine different high schools competed in school-based competitions, then went head-to-head in the county competition. Three local successful business professionals judged the competition; Jason Ambrose, Chief Lending Officer at Nymeo FCU, Jose Bueso, COO, Past President and Co-Founder of Dynamic Automotive, and Dr. Christopher Nichols, Counsel at McBee, Moore & Vanik IP, LLC.  

The students submitted a five-minute recorded video business pitch to the judges prior to last night's virtual competitions, and then presented a 60-second elevator pitch live via the YouTube streaming competition. Each team then answered one question from each judge. The students were scored on the following five categories: Creativity/Innovation, Product/Service Clarity, Market Potential, Competitive Landscape, and Operational Sustainability.

FCPS appreciates Nymeo’s continued generosity and support of students.

"Being a proud supporter of FCPS and a local financial institution that provides products and services for small businesses, Nymeo Federal Credit Union is excited to again sponsor StartUp Frederick, which empowers budding innovators and entrepreneurs," said Vicki Johnston, President and CEO of Nymeo. "This unique event not only showcases inventive products and business ideas from students but also cultivates a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit crucial for their future success."

Watch the recording of the competition at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1P49NtA5Thks_ft6DUeJPw1YE-wx8HP4d/view?usp=sharing.

Anyone interested in learning more about this event or other CTE opportunities can contact Norm McGaughey, Coordinator for CTE at Norman.McGaughey@fcps.org, 301-644-5265.