UB Entrepreneurs Clamor to Get on the Bus
It may have been an unusual, ahem, vehicle by which to launch their success, but six University of Baltimore student entrepreneurs boarded an imposing yellow bus Sept. 20 to pitch their ideas for new businesses to a panel of venture capitalists.
The UB stop on Startup Maryland’s two-week Pitch Across Maryland bus tour and competition came about midway through the campaign, which brought the initiative—and the coach bus, done up in bright yellow and splashed with a detail of the state flag—to select business incubators, economic development agencies and educational institutions to celebrate entrepreneurship and to bring focus to Maryland’s diverse businesses. “[UB] was one of the first to jump on the bus when this idea came together (literally),” Mike Binko, Startup Maryland co-chair, said during the event.
At UB and especially in the Merrick School of Business, entrepreneurship is a highly regarded component of student learning. Johnetta Hardy, director of UB’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, says, “Our students have many ideas for businesses and want to make a contribution to their community as well as to the economy. They bring energy, imagination and know-how … as well as a lot of great questions about what makes a business real.”
The six budding UB entrepreneurs had been selected from an original pool of 51 entries representing students from all four UB schools. They not only presented pitches to venture capitalists on the bus and video recorded them in the bus’s mobile studio in hopes of advancing to the next round of the competition, but they also gave in-person pitches to a panel of School of Business alumni and advisory board members in front of a live audience.
The UB panel selected Yitzchok “Isaac” Schleifer’s Raffle Ready as the strongest pitch and presented the undergraduate business administration student with a $1,000 prize.