On Wednesday, April 20th, a full house of supporters turned out for the third annual Cangialosi Business Innovation Competition (CBIC). Coordinated by UMBC’s Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship, and made possible by a generous gift from alumnus and serial entrepreneur Greg Cangialosi, the CBIC offers students an opportunity to experience the process of planning a start-up business.
This year, thirty (30) ideas were submitted to the competition and the top seven (7) were selected to go to the final competition. The finalists pitched their ideas to a panel of experienced judges consisting of Josh Goldberg, CEO of the Panther Angels, Dr. Gloria Jacobovitz, Technology Manager, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab , and Jeff Kurtzman, a serial e-commerce entrepreneur and consultant. All of the judges are also members of the Baltimore Angels.
Teams were comprised of UMBC undergraduate and graduate students, and each was paired with a business mentor to help them further develop and polish their idea prior to the final competition.
Stakes were high with cash awards of $5,000 for 1st place, $2,000 for 2nd place and $1,000 for 3rd place, as well as membership to Betamore, a Federal Hill based incubator and educational facility co-founded by Cangialosi.
First place was awarded to PITCH (Preventing Injuries, Trauma and Cracks to the Head). The team’s idea reduces the chance of head trauma and skull fractures for baseball pitchers. They designed a protective device which is embedded in baseball caps which is both lightweight and natural in appearance. An enthusiastic presentation was given by Stefan Wroblewski and team members are Andrew Wallace, Michael Torres, Jezron Basbas and Baruch Weiner. In Stefan’s words, “It was awesome that Mr. Cangialosi was impressed with our business pitch. I felt he believed in our product and marketing strategy. With the prizes he offered, we now have a strong network in Baltimore to help us build our business.”
Second place was awarded to SupplySense, an idea developed by PhD student Filip Dabek. SuppySense is an app using state of the art sensors to track inventory usage to provide businesses with an optimal strategy for refill appointments. While designed for commercial use, Judge Dr. Gloria Jacobovitz described SupplySense as highly intelligent and remarked that she herself would love to have one in her kitchen. Dabek remarked, “Going through the Cangiolosi Business Innovation Competition (CBIC), UMBC allowed me to go through the process of formulating a business plan and prototype product, from which I learned a great deal and received excellent strategic mentorship from CBIC affiliated faculty. Through the knowledge that I gained from being a CBIC participant, I am now going to take my SupplySense idea to market.”
Finally, third place was awarded to Aerwell, a clean energy device that extracts clean and pure water from humidity in the air to provide fresh water and sustainable energy. The water can then be used either for drinking or for agricultural purposes. Bedford Boylston presented the idea for the team which consists of Marios Levi, Arthur Schorr, Terry Wasserleben, and Alexis Walmsley. Regarding the opportunity, Boylston said, “The competition gave me [us] an opportunity to present an idea of how to provide globally clean water to people in need. Also the condensation of water provides excess energy to be captured for electricity production. A simple device designed to solve a huge problem. Young people from UMBC will be needed to make this promising technology a reality”.
Participation in the competition is just the first phase of the business education the winning teams will experience. By far the most important part of the CBIC will be what comes next, the involvement in Betamore programming and events which will provide valuable connections to the Baltimore business community.
We would like to say congratulations to all participants who entered. We are so proud of the innovation and creativity at UMBC and are excited to see what’s next.