Ethan Dietrich

Odenton resident and Anne Arundel Community College student Ethan Dietrich was chosen to attend the TechStars Patriot Boot Camp in New York City to help refine his idea for a technology company. (Anne Arundel Community College Photo / April 28, 2014)

Anne Arundel Community College student Ethan Dietrich plans to make his idea for a technology company a reality through his energy, adaptability and passion — and a little help from mentors and investors at the TechStars Patriot Boot Camp at Goldman Sachs in New York.

Dietrich, 32, of Odenton, was one of 50 veterans or active-duty military nationwide invited last month to the three-day boot camp of entrepreneurial education, mentoring and relationship building.

TechStars chose Dietrich based on the business plan he submitted for SixGen LLC, a company that combines "big data," cloud computing and cybersecurity aspects. Dietrich has background in the field, starting his work in data and intelligence analysis during his five-year stint in the Army.

Since his military service ended in 2004, he has worked as a defense contractor for several agencies conducting intelligence data analysis.

He hopes the TechStars event will help him with what he needs most, investors to provide about $5 million capital for the company's first two years. He already has some practice pitching his idea. A transfer studies major at Anne Arundel, Dietrich won first place in the college's recent Business Plan Competition, awarding him the Philip and Carole Ratcliffe Scholarship of up to $10,000 to continue his education.

Other prizes included $1,250 cash, office space in the college's student business incubator, up to 10 hours of accounting services donated by Lombardo Wagner Ayres and Co. LLC, an iPad and the opportunity to present to the Annapolis Entrepreneurs and Innovators Program Group.

He said the competition helped him elevate his idea from a concept to a real business. Dietrich said having the opportunity to network with other business owners and the AACC Entrepreneurial Studies Institute and business faculty and staff was the most meaningful outcome of entering the competition, while the biggest perk was the free office space and resources. 

He credits Rene Campo, adjunct faculty for business management and entrepreneurial studies and adviser to the community college's chapter of the Student Veterans of America, with directing him to the TechStars competition and providing insight into the AACC Business Competition process.

Dietrich plans to continue his education next semester, but said his main focus will be getting his business up and running.

Community college classes

Registration for fall noncredit classes at Anne Arundel Community College is being held. For information, go to aacc.edu/noncredit. The college's second eight-week session of summer credit classes begins June 16. To register, call 410-777-2243 or go to aacc.edu/recreg.

Engineering scholarships

Anne Arundel Community College has been awarded a $598,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to help support its engineering scholars program. The grant will provide scholarships of up to $4,000 annually to financially needy, academically talented students to help them graduate from the school's engineering programs, transfer to a four-year institution and enter the workforce. Information: 410-777-2222.

Nursing scholarships

Through 2014, three Anne Arundel Community College nursing students will receive $3,000 scholarships through a program set up by Johns Hopkins HealthCare. The scholarships will benefit county residents enrolled in the college's registered nursing associate's degree program who demonstrate financial need as established by the AACC financial aid office. Information: 410-777-2203 or aacc.edu/finaid.

Financial aid is available at Anne Arundel Community College. In addition, the college has a no-fee, interest-free payment plan that allows the cost of tuition to be spread throughout a term. Payment plans are available. For information about financial aid, call 410-777-2203 or go to aacc.edu/finaid. Students can also meet with a financial aid representative on a walk-in basis at the Arnold campus, Glen Burnie Town Center, AACC at Arundel Mills or the Fort Meade Army Education Center.