Student entrepreneurs win $50,500 in annual business pitch


Photo courtesy of Andrew Parr

Second-year entrepreneurship student Andrew Parr dresses up to pitch his idea for a pop-up beer garden. Parr won first place in the Business Pitch competition.

Vance Wild, Reporter

AACC’s Entrepreneurial Studies Institute awarded $50,500 to six student entrepreneurs during its annual Business Pitch competition on Tuesday.

Second-year entrepreneurship student Andrew Parr, who won the largest prize of $11,000 and the $500 fan favorite award, said he is “overjoyed.”

“It just feels good to, you know, walk away feeling like I made a really good impression on my colleagues and peers, my professors,” Parr said.

Parr, who pitched the idea of an events-themed pop-up beer garden, said his idea came from walking around Annapolis during the pandemic.

“I didn’t have anything else to do except walk and I realized Annapolis didn’t have any great outdoor spaces to have a drink,” said Parr, who dressed up for his pitch.

Stephanie Goldenberg, who runs what she called a “Shark Tank-style” competition, said the pitch is an opportunity for students who are “just getting started” in their business endeavors.

“We’re in the business of helping students launch businesses [and] helping with entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial activity, problem-solving and small business,” Goldenberg, ESI’s academic chair, said.

Five other contestants split $39,000 in prize money.

Second-year entrepreneurial student Will Fenn won $10,000 for his business, Helen’s Blend.

Fenn described Helen’s Blend as a company that would sell edible cannabis to clients with specific needs, inspired by his grandmother’s battle with anxiety and insomnia.

Fourth-year entrepreneurship student Patti Kuhlman received $10,000 for her exercise rope supply company, Kuhlwhip.

Eric Collyer, a second-year health and physical education student, got $10,000 for his “global personal training business,” Enroute.

Marketing and advertising and entrepreneurship student Stephanie Steeley won $6,000 for a business called Roen Dice, a small company that sells custom dice with fantasy themes.

And third-year construction management student Stephen Buckingham got $3,000 for his business, United Construction Network.

United Construction Network is a company that focuses on connecting construction workers with each other and with companies that might hire them.

Goldenberg encouraged the participants to “just keep working on their business, whether they got funds today or did not.”

Goldenberg added the pitch was a good chance to draw in students and local partners.

“We bring in the community.” Goldenberg said. “We touch so many students and high schoo[s]  and our community partners. People with amazing experience are giving their expertise and time to help our students.”