Imagine a world where you could find out how much crime there is in a city down to the neighborhood, or a world where data on missing persons were updated in real time via a mobile device. Imagine a world where thermal imaging could be used to detect cancers like melanoma.
These ideas were among those that were proposed at the Pitch Across Maryland 2.0 bus tour Monday morning.
Six entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to pitch their ideas on the bus in a two- to four-minute video, which the tour organizers will edit down.
Mike Binko, the co-creator of Pitch Across Maryland, considers the bus tour a group of loosely tied entrepreneurs, all working toward bringing more innovation together.
There are 14 stops on the bus tour, and eight finalists from across the state will be chosen and sent to the Entrepreneurs Inspiring Entrepreneurs Expo in November in Linthicum. Then two of those will present at the Invest Maryland Challenge, where they will have the opportunity to win $100,000 in each of four categories offered.
Jon Weetman, the administrator of operations and small business development for Carroll County Economic Development, said Carroll County is a pocket of high-tech companies.
"There is some misconception that Carroll County is all corn and no tech," he said to a crowd Monday morning at the headquarters of Land Sea Air, a machining manufacturing company based in Westminster that hosted the bus tour.
Entrepreneurs Chris Hogan and Steve Heinrich hope to change that. The co-founders of Cartolabs hope to create a prototype that uses census designation to find details about a city or area such as crime, walkability, rentals and houses.
Hogan said he moved to seven different counties in three different states during an eight-year span, which helped develop the idea.
Most websites that look at ratings of a neighborhood do it by ZIP code, Heinrich said. But ZIP codes are made for the post office and can be wide reaching. For instance, Heinrich said his parents live near the corridor between Md. 27 and Md. 26, which isn't the same as downtown Westminster. Yet, they have the same ZIP code.
"Different neighborhoods lend themselves to different characteristics," Heinrich said.
The program would allow users to search for neighborhoods that offer characteristics they enjoy. Hogan said while there isn't a prototype yet, he's largely built the back end of the model.
For business owners like Tom Hurley, the CEO of Hurley IR in Mount Airy, a change in his business model could lead to more profit. The company creates highly specialized devices that, for the past 30 years the company has been in business, have been sold to the government.
That's not the case anymore, Hurley said. The Department of Defense doesn't have the budget for Hurley IR to create prototypes.
So the company is looking toward doing its work in more innovative ways in other sectors, such as using thermal imaging to detect cancers like melanoma, which have slightly higher temperatures than a normal body temperature, he said.
There's a problem, though.
"As for the medical stuff - we don't know how to walk those hallways," Hurley said.
Pitch Across America focuses on companies in their idea phase just as much as those established companies who may need to ramp up or speed up their businesses, Binko said.
The typical entrepreneur in Maryland isn't the 20-something with an idea, Binko said. On the contrary, he said most entrepreneurs he's seen are in their 30s or 40s.
While Hurley has a business to pivot from, Brian Wagner looked to his passion to create his next business.
He sat in the chair known as the "hot seat" Monday afternoon to record his video, which volunteers from Pitch Across Maryland will edit, and began to talk.
Wagner, a volunteer for Mid-Atlantic Dog Rescue, hopes to get rid of the paperwork associated with missing persons reports.
His company, SAR Innovations, would help document search and rescue missions for many of the missing persons cases every year. It would focus on using real-time data on both computers and mobile platforms, as well as on helping to streamline paperwork associated with missing persons.
Wagner said since his dog joined Mid-Atlantic D.O.G.S. Search and Rescue since 2006, the two have performed about 70 rescues. The organization works closely with the Maryland State Police to help with missing persons that typically don't involve crime or abduction.
He referenced studies from http://www.alz.org, which show six in 10 people with dementia will wander away at some point in their life.
As he left, the volunteer videographer for Pitch Across Maryland, Mike Venezia mentioned he just started a film company. The two exchanged business cards. At Pitch Across Maryland, everyone is an entrepreneur.