Carroll County has a lavender farm opening in its near future. Dawn Pritchard, founder of Silver Linings Lavender Farm, a proposed agrotourism destination in the county featuring fields of lavender and a variety of lavender products, was named the 2014 Carroll Biz Challenge Friday at McDaniel College.
The Carroll Biz Challenge, now in its second year, is a contest for small business startups to compete for a $5,000 cash prize. Founded by local entrepreneur Jason Stambaugh, the event is hosted by Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by 24 county businesses.
Pritchard said after the announcement that was surprised and speechless that she had won.
"A lot of hard work has paid off," she said.
Pritchard outlasted 15 entries in the competition. Of the 15, five were chosen to present at the live competition in front of more than 120 spectators and a four-member panel.
Finalists were required to give a five minute pitch for their business before a question and answer session with the panel.
The panel unanimously chose Pritchard as the winner.
Stratosphere Trampoline Park, owned by Bryan Zuber, received the audience vote, which carries with it a $500 prize.
Zuber plans to open family-oriented facility in Eldersburg where all ages will have open trampoline jump areas and arenas for dodgeball, basketball, volleyball, and fitness.
The other finalists included:
• Debra Cancro: Founder of Autonomy Engine, which is voice recording software that measures the tone of your voice informs you how you come across to your audience.
• Jason Harder, Lance Garber, Duane Martin, and Luke Fisher: Founders of IndiThat, a local social media site aiming to connect its users to what they enjoy most in Westminster.
• Steve Lowe and Pinwheel Liester: Co-founders of MuffinBomb, a company that produces baskets of individually wrapped muffins to be sent as a gift.