Biz Challenge

Competition host Jason Stambaugh, left, and Caroll Biz Challenge winner Dawn Pritchard, right. celebrate Pritchard's win by holding up a $5,000 check at McDaniel College in Westminster. (Photo by Matt Hazlett / November 21, 2013)

Carroll County entrepreneurs have had the opportunity over the past two years to promote their business ideas through the Carroll Biz Challenge.

Now local high schoolers will have the same opportunity and the chance to win a $5,000 scholarship.

The Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, along with local entrepreneur Jason Stambaugh and Carroll County Public Schools, will host the Carroll County Public Schools Biz Challenge this spring.

Similar to the Carroll Biz Challenge, students will be asked to pitch a business proposal.

But instead of an emphasis on how to start the business immediately, students will be asked to present a plan on how they will develop their idea. This could include their education plans or who they will partner with to start the business.

The Carroll Biz Challenge, which awards one local entrepreneur $5,000, offers applicants the opportunity to pitch their business ideas through an online application and live contest at McDaniel College.

"Since most students aren't in a position to start a business right now, the focus of the high school competition is to encourage them to develop the self-awareness to realize what they would personally need to do to make their business idea a reality," said Stambaugh, who is the founder and CEO of Hometown Startups.

The winner of the event will receive a $5,000 scholarship that can be used for post-secondary education expenses or startup business costs.

Mike McMullin, president of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, said in a news release announcing the contest that he cannot wait to see what students come up with.

"Our members are very excited to challenge high school students with real life business scenarios which will help them grow into the type of entrepreneurs and employees we need in Carroll County," he said.

An online application is available at http://www.ccpsbizchallenge.com. The deadline for students to enter the competition is March 15.

Finalists will be selected from 11 divisions, including one student from each of the county's eight high schools, a finalist from the Gateway School, the Career and Technology Center and a home schooled or private school student.

Following the online application, 11 finalists will be selected to pitch their idea in front of a live audience and a panel of judges. The live event, which is open to the public, will take place at Winters Mill High School from 6 to 9 p.m. May 2.

Stambaugh, who also created the Carroll Biz Challenge, said he's not sure what to expect in year one of the competition, but is hopeful the $5,000 scholarship will encourage a lot of students to apply.

"I'm really hoping this will deliver a valuable learning opportunity, connecting classroom learning with real world experience," he said.

Schools Superintendent Steve Guthrie said he is excited about the competition and opportunity it offers students.

"It also is closely aligned with our Vision 2018 which focuses on preparing globally competitive students and developing and maintaining an effective workforce," he said in a statement.