Last Wednesday, the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) along with 12 Innovation Station Accelerator partners hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Week StartUp Maryland Pitch Competition. Several local entrepreneurs participated, poised to share their latest innovations, products and services giving potential investors and supporters an up-close look at their value propositions. EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman was excited to host the event in Innovation Station.
“At the EDC, we’re all about small business growth,” said Coleman. “We’re proud to host the StartUP Maryland Pitch Competition as it gives our small businesses much needed and much deserved visibility. We’ve got entrepreneurs from all industry sectors here to pitch and gain access to some valuable resources. I’m so proud that the EDC is playing a major role in the success of these great companies!”
The EDC’s Innovation Station Accelerator hosted an entrepreneur expo where attendees could engage the innovators one on one. Guests were able to get a firsthand account of why the founders and developers believed their product should receive support. One young man has created an app to schedule haircuts in addition to keeping up-to-date one’s health. Another is creating virtual reality solutions that will shape the future. There were also a natural haircare guru and two restaurants that provided delicious food. Some products were available for guests to try out. Andrew Suggs, founder of the Live Chair App, has already made his software available for both Apple and Android users.
“Two weeks ago, we moved our headquarters to Maryland,” said Suggs. “We had a meeting with Mr. Jim Coleman who then invited us to participate in the StartUP Maryland Pitch Competition. We’re using the unique social environment of the barbershop to encouragement African-American men to visit the doctor. We’re honored to participate in this event so that we can tell Maryland and the world that we’re here to solve a huge problem and we’d love support.”
Suggs and the other entrepreneurs boarded the StartUp Maryland Tour Bus in front of the EDC headquarters to pitch their businesses on camera for up to four minutes each. The video recording will be distributed to the StartUp Maryland network for review. Winners will be connected to valuable resources included coaches, mentors, as well as potential investors. Mike Binko, Co-Founder of StartUp Maryland was excited about the turnout for the Prince George’s County competition.
“Compared to the other counties, Prince George’s County had the most pitches on the road show this year,” said Binko. “To make StartUp Maryland work, we need an eco-system. It takes economic development corporations, incubators, universities and academia, and other experienced, successful entrepreneurs to make the StartUp Maryland tour worthwhile. This tour is a celebration of entrepreneurs, helping them prove to investors why they are right for investment. That usually takes a little bit of coaching. We like to surround them with the resources that will get them to the next level.”
Learn more about activities taking place at the EDC Innovation Station Accelerator by contacting Alicia Moran, EDC Small Business Resource Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (301) 583-4650.