StartRight! 2016 Business Plan Competition Winners Announced

Alice Blayne-Allard, Free State Cooperage is the Grand Prize Winner

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The Maryland Women’s Business Center (MWBC) and Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) announced the winners of the 13th annual StartRight! Women’s Business Plan Competition at the Power Conference at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.

The annual competition is supported with funding from sponsors that award cash and in-kind prizes totaling over $13,000.  Shulman Rogers was this year’s Gold Level Sponsor, joined by Morgan Stanley at the Silver Level.  Bronze Level sponsors include Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation, Revere Bank, TriBridge Partners, LLC, EagleBank, Snyder Cohn, Maryland Department of Commerce and Intelligent Office. Allegra, SameGrain, Women’s Business Report and Clark Concepts were in-kind sponsors of the competition.

This year’s $5,000 Grand Prize was awarded to Free State Cooperage owner Alice Blayne-Allard.  Free State Cooperage manufactures sustainably sourced American oak barrels for use in distilleries, wineries and breweries, and offers tours featuring Maryland history and forestry practices.

This year’s winner of the “Pick The Pitch” category was Shenita Penn and Krystina Sims, co-founders of Next Steps in Nursing, LLC (NSIN).  Elevator pitches from 10 semifinalists were filmed and posted on MWBC’s website, and the public was invited to vote for their favorite.  The Pitch Prize is one year of complimentary office space from Intelligent Office.

Runner up prizes were awarded to Damini Agarwal of MedAPT, Shenita Penn and Krystina Sims of NSIN, Takia Ross of Accessmatized, and Deborah Bodin Cohen of The Story House.