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The Maryland Institute College of Art will host a "Shark Tank"-style start-up competition for students and alumni at its Brown Center, right.
The Maryland Institute College of Art will host a "Shark Tank"-style start-up competition for students and alumni at its Brown Center, right. (Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun)

Entrepreneurship will meet the arts this week at Maryland Institute College of Art's first "Shark Tank"-style competition, inviting students and recent graduates to compete for a chance to win up to $20,000 in start-up funding.

Up/Start MICA kicks off on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the college's Brown Center, where teams will pitch their business ideas to a group of nine judges.

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Eight teams were chosen from more than 30 applicants who pitched their ideas at a "Pop Up & Pitch" event at the college in February. The semi-finalists who will compete this week include alumna and co-founder Julie Buisson of MODERNature, an indoor farming and microgreen business; Winston Frazier, founder of Danae Prosthetics, which produces and designs prosthetic hands and legs using 3-D printers; and senior Jordan Bradley, who created Pi, a health and wellness productivity app.

Judges will include prominent business leaders, entrepreneurs and community developers like Michael Binko, founder and CEO of Startup Maryland; Thibault Manekin, co-founder of real estate company Seawall Development; and Tracey Halvorson, a MICA alumna and president of creative agency Fastspot.

Earlier this year, the college received a three-year, $600,000 grant from the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation to help build and guide start-up businesses launched by students and alumni. Up to $100,000 of the grant will go to the competition's winners. The remainder will fund the program.

The competition is free and open to the public. To register for the event, visit the Eventbrite page.

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