As Chamber President Mike McMullin shared at the start of the event, entrepreneurs are like alien cowboy fair princesses; they are the out-of-this world, pioneering, and magical individuals who are working hard to build the next generation of local businesses. Congratulations to all the applicants, finalists, and prize winners – you are proof that the entrepreneurial spirit continues to grow right here in Carroll County!
The 3rd Annual Carroll Biz Challenge was RECORD BREAKING. This year’s Biz Challenge boasted record breaking numbers of sponsors, of applicants, of finalists, of prizes, and now we add to that list record breaking live event participation! Over 175 people were there to see the 7 finalists pitch their startups at Cre-a-tv Studios in front of the live audience and panel of judges. The judge panel included four successful local business owners – Mike Gibble, Toni Pomeroy, Aaron Davis, and Dave Burrows.
Steve Moore, owner of “Run Moore”, went home with the $5,000 Grand Prize. Run Moore, the only specialty running store in Carroll County, opened on Main Street Westminster in late August of this year. Moore’s passion for his business was very apparent as he pitched his startup to the judges and audience wearing a suit and neon running shoes. The judges admired his passion, but more than that – they admired the potential of Run Moore to be a truly valuable asset to the Carroll County business community. Congratulations to Steve and the rest of the Run Moore team for their big win!
Moore was not the only one to go home with a prize at the end of the night. Michelle Sholund with “By the Bay Botanicals” was awarded Carroll County Economic Development’s $2,500 Downtown Award. Sholund opened By the Bay Botanicals Gift Shop in the spring of the 2013. The startup is part of the City of Westminster’s incubator program and is also on Main Street Westminster. Jon Weetman of Carroll County Economic Development presented the award to an excited and tearful Michelle live on stage.
Gibble Enterprises Holdings’ Big Idea Award went to Matthew Schwaab with “The Happy Pup Camp of Carroll County”, a doggy daycare that lets pet owners rest easy knowing their pets “will be cared for with the same loving care that they provide at home.” Mike Gibble presented the award, remarking on the exciting potential of Scwaab’s startup idea.
The community’s love of their K9 companions was made even more evident with the final prize recipient of the night. At the end of the night, the audience had a chance to vote for the winner of the VoxPop Communication’s People’s Choice Award. The $500 prize went to Carroll County K9 Sports Complex, pitched by Marta Coursey and her K9 companion “Reese”. The K9 Sports Complex, a state of the art facility where dog sports competitions will be held, could have a great impact on the local business community, as well as to dog owners throughout Carroll and beyond.