Entrepreneurial Business Concepts Get Pitched Aboard Startup Maryland Bus

Entrepreneurial Business Concepts Get Pitched Aboard Startup Maryland Bus

POCOMOKE CITY – Eastern Shore entrepreneurs will have the chance to share their business pitches with a statewide audience thanks to a visit from the Startup Maryland bus.

Representatives from Startup Maryland, an initiative designed to help launch the dreams of the state’s entrepreneurs, stopped in Pocomoke City on Monday to give Delmarva residents a chance to share their ideas. Attendees were able to hop on the Startup Maryland tour bus to record a pitch to enter in a statewide contest slated for October.

“It’s an opportunity to put yourself above the radar and maybe find the resources to help you move forward,” said Mike Binko, founder and CEO of Startup Maryland.

Binko and the bus, which has visited Ocean City in the past, stopped at Pocomoke armor company Hardwire to meet local politicians and collect entrepreneurial pitches. Binko explained the project’s mission to a crowd of local students, government leaders and town officials.

“What we’re trying to do is bring your story back with us,” he said.

Binko said individuals from across the state would have the opportunity to step on the bus to record their business pitches. They’ll have two to four minutes to share their ideas and show their passion on video. When Binko and his crew return to Startup Maryland headquarters, they’ll upload the videos to YouTube. At that point, they’ll identify three fan favorites — those with the most views — as well as those with the most promise. A panel of investors will choose eight finalists who will be invited to pitch their ideas in front of a crowd at the TEDCO Entrepreneur Expo in November.

Jamey Brittingham was one of the area business owners who stopped by to record her pitch. She owns and operates a Chincoteague store, Mamersass, that she’d like to expand. She’d like to extend the concept — reinventing unwanted clothes — to Worcester County, where she grew up.

Another entrepreneur on hand to make his pitch was Steven Bolgiano of Terradesic. Bolgiano, who helped create Planet Found, has a new idea he’d like to generate support for. He wants to create a virtual network of scientists whose members would be able to bid on projects that interested them.

“This allows people to work in teams and not have to form a company,” he said. “It allows you to take ownership of things you do.”

Bolgiano thanked local officials, Senator Jim Mathias in particular, for the efforts they made on behalf of area entrepreneurs.

Mathias said it was important for area residents to work together. He pointed to the Worcester Technical High School students in the crowd and stressed that they were the future of Worcester County.

“You’re going to take us to even greater places,” he said.

During the press conference in front of Hardwire, students were able to see several of the bulletproof whiteboards the company makes as well as two armored vehicles. Hardwire spokesman Brian Shane said the company was honored to show students what they could do after study in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. He said Hardwire was also happy to serve as a stop for Startup Maryland in its search for entrepreneurs, as company founder George Tunis was one himself.

“Startup Maryland’s entrepreneurial spirit matches up perfectly with our company’s core beliefs,” Shane said. “Hardwire was once a startup business … Like a lot of small business owners, George started the business in his garage.”

Merry Mears, Worcester County’s deputy director of economic development, said this year’s event marked the third time her office had worked with Startup Maryland in Worcester County. She said she was thrilled with Monday’s turnout.

“I’m pleased with the sheer number of people that came out today to show their interest and to participate in pitching their business,” she said.  “Many thanks to Hardwire as well and their continued support of economic development in Worcester County.”