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Entrepreneurship Competition 2017

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Entrepreneurship Competition - Friday, April 21, 2017

If one of the first laws of business is supply and demand, Salisbury University students Allen Reynolds and Katherine Hairsine are following that law to the letter. The winners of Salisbury University’s 30th Bernstein Achievement Award for Excellence presented the best student business plan submitted as part of SU’s annual Entrepreneurship Competitions, sponsored by M&T Bank. They based their idea for Reynolds Rentals, an upscale storage facility, on a need they observed in Reynolds’ hometown, Smithsburg, MD. The homeowners association (HOA) at a large development there recently began enforcing bylaws that make working on and storing boats and vehicles in driveways illegal, Reynolds said. At the proposed facility, residents with boats, motorcycles, and antique and classic cars could store and maintain them in climate-controlled, illuminated units.

In addition to the $20,000 Bernstein Award, the duo earned funding and in-kind services through earlier competition rounds, including an “Invest in My Idea” poster presentation session and “Gull Cage” elevator pitch round (similar to ABC-TV’s Shark Tank), for a total prize package of $24,500. Fourteen other entries won between $1,000 and $17,000 in cash and prizes. Special honors went to three proposals. Rapid Response Aero Medical, a drone-based automatic external defibrillator, earned $15,000 in cash and services as the winner of the Dover Corporation Best Product and City of Salisbury awards. FitPoints, a fitness app, received the $5,000 CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Award. Neuro Helmet Systems, creator of a high-tech motorcycle helmet attachable “heads up” safety display, won the $1,000 Salisbury Wicomico Economic Development Award and the $1,000 Director’s Award.

This year’s competitors also had the opportunity to record video pitches aboard the STRT1UP Road Show bus, which parked outside SU’s Perdue Hall during the event. The videos will be uploaded to the organization’s YouTube site, where the public may vote on their favorites. For more information visit www.startupmd.org/pitchmd.

In all, a record 50 teams entered this year’s competitions, doubling last year’s number. While Reynolds and Hairsine both were students from SU’s Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, which hosts the annual competitions, 30 percent of teams included students from the University’s other three academic schools — another record — up from 10 percent last year. Each competed for their share of a $100,000 prize pool.

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