Shark Tank Meets AACC’s Elevator Pitch Competition



A riveting contest, the Elevator Pitch Competition, went down on Thursday April 26. Each competitor had only 2 minutes to pitch an entire business plan to the judges in hopes of winning a $750 Scholarship.

Neil Kenworthy, Reporter

The pressure was on for students participating in AACC’s sixth annual Big Idea Elevator Pitch Competition.

In this “Shark Tank” inspired contest, students have two minutes to pitch their idea to a group of four judges. The idea being that the students have an elevator ride’s worth of time to pitch their product, said AACC instructional specialist Stephen Berry.

This year’s panel of judges included Wade Barnes, director of retail marketing at 1st Mariner Bank; Lisa Ennis, owner of Eccentrics Spa; Stephen Hall, owner of Maryland Sales Training; and Peter DeAngelo, managing director of Business Renewal Partners, LLC.

First place belonged to John Teabo for his “What Am I Eating” nutrition application. He received a $750 scholarship and plenty of business cards for winning this year’s competition.

“I thought of starting a business around this idea,” said Teabo, “but then I thought why not bring it to everyone through an app.”

The app allows the user to scan whatever they are about to eat and it will deliver an “H-rating” for the general healthiness of that food. It also provides the user with detailed information on how each nutrient or chemical will affect them.

“As I ate healthier, my friend taught me how to look into the calories that I am eating and not just the calories themselves,” said Teabo on how he developed the idea for the app.

The technology category also featured Matthew Garufi and Christopher Diener winning second place for their Bus Finder pitch, which is an app that allows students to track school buses.

First place in the general category presentations was won by Ryan Blomeley for his pitch to start RMI Wing Sails, a company that would make wing sails for everyday boats.

“It’s amazing how creative and excited the students are,” said Berry. “Their competitiveness on top of that really makes this event special.”

The Big Idea competition is unique in that it gives students the opportunity to interact with business people. Wade Barnes is one of those business people, and he participated as a judge.

“I love the energy that these kids have,” said Barnes on his favorite part of the competition, “it’s really refreshing.”

Unique ideas with something special about them are what he looks for from a judge’s perspective, said Barnes.

Business Education will continue its series of contests on May 1 during the twelfth annual Business Plan Competition where students will have the opportunity to present their plans to investors for start-up funds.