On Thursday night, local entrepreneurs with five different companies will face off in the Carroll Biz Challenge with thousands of dollars on the line.
A gaming lounge that opened in May is one of those five finalists. Battleground Lounge, a video gaming center located in the TownMall in Westminster, has made it to the final round of the Biz Challenge with the concept of offering local kids a place to socialize and entertain themselves in a safe environment. The business is owned by Mike Borris, Anthony DeJesus and John Wah.
The grand prize of the challenge is about $5,000, and the people’s choice award is $1,000. The Biz Challenge is powered by the Carroll Chamber of Commerce and will be held from 6 to 9 Thursday evening at the Carroll Arts Center. There will be a happy hour between 5 and 6 p.m.
Since opening, Battleground has hosted about 25 tournaments and 5,000 to 6,000 gamers as of Tuesday, Borris said.
If they win, Battleground’s owners have big plans for the prize money.
“We plan to do a couple things; one, we plan to put back into marketing to try to bring more business into Carroll County, so kind of marketing outside of just Carroll County to bring more people in from other counties to play at Battleground. We also are developing an after-school program that we plan to use the money with,” co-owner Mike Borris said. “We would definitely love to utilize all the different marketing packages that are part of those prizes and the other specialists that are in those prizes to help our business.”
Borris feels pretty confident about their chances in the challenge.
“I think we got a pretty good chance,” Borris said. “I think we’re going to win it.”
The gaming lounge will be up against Codeland, a program/website that will walk students through a coding curriculum; FishED, a device to allow aquatic life to avoid being swept up into water intakes; The Drifting Dreamers, a photobooth in a 1963 Volkswagen bus; and KnowMe, a smart medical information bracelet. From a list of about 50 applicants, the five were chosen to pitch their businesses in the grand finale.
The finalists will present their ideas to the panel of judges. Then the audience will vote for the People’s Choice Award, and the judges will deliberate and choose the grand prize winners.
The judges this year will be Josh Kohn of Kohn Creative, Mike Gibble of Gibble Enterprises Holdings, Trisha McLean of Ting and Amy Wallace-Yingling of Small Business Development Centers.
“[Attendees] should expect the most exciting show offered on an annual basis in Carroll County by anyone,” Carroll County Chamber of Commerce President Mike McMullin said. “They can expect lots of energy, lots of excitement and great local entrepreneurs — seeing their passions, the businesses that they want to start.”