Local community college hosts Shark Tank-style business competition


In one of their first business classes at Frederick Community College, students are taught how to create a business plan. For many of them, the business idea didn’t fade away once the assignment was turned in.

“It was just an assignment. This whole idea was just me thinking large. I started to actually do it and it started to make sense,” explained Frederick Community College student, Ashley Chambers.

The college campus hosted a business plan contest Wednesday to test students on their ability to create a business, and pitch it before an audience.

“A business plan is trying to think of all the resources you need, both financial and other, thinking about the marketing plan part of it,” explained professor at Frederick Community College, Larry Devan.

And out of 20 proposals, three finalists emerged to present their businesses, including a model railway company created by student Kevin Schweinfurth, a hair-care subscription service by Chambers, and a French bakery created by student Camelia Khansari.  

Each student was given ten minutes to make their best pitch.

“It was hard but I was very inspired by the business. For me, it was like I was doing the business, it wasn’t just a business plan. I was doing the business so I really tried to give more detail about the business,” said finalist Camelia Khansari.

Four local business leaders stepped in as judges for the competition and took time after the presentations to ask questions on the students’ goals for their businesses and what unique features set them apart. 

“Did they understand profitability, what their costs were? Were they realistic with some of those assumptions? All three of these businesses were viable and theoretically could make a go of it,” said James Gorman, Vice President of M&T Bank for Frederick and Carroll Counties. Gorman stepped in as a judge for the competition.  

And taking the top prize was Camelia Khansari. She’ll walk away with a $2,500 scholarship.  

“I’m happy, surprised, excited. I learned so, so many things,” Khansari said after her win.

Second place was awarded to Ashley Chambers with a $1,500 reward, and third place went to Kevin Schweinfurth who won a $1,000 reward.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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