Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

MG Custom Lighting wins CCBC 10th annual Business Plan Competition

Michael Guarraia of MG Custom Lighting LLC, a company that makes handmade industrial-style lamps using reclaimed industrial parts and machinery, won the first-place prize of $20,000 in the Community College of Baltimore County’s Center for Business Innovation’s 10th Annual Business Plan Competition.

The Feb. 6 event featured the top 10 pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs, all of whom are CCBC students or alumni. The winners shared a total of $62,500 in seed money to be used as startup capital for their new or growing businesses.

Prize money was made possible by the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation, which has awarded more than $1 million in grant funding to expand the Center for Business Innovation. In addition to the startup capital to support entrepreneurs, the grant provides instructional support to develop new courses and workshops to strengthen the business acumen for those interested in starting a new business.

The second-place award of $15,000 went to Jon’ll and Matthew Boyd of Boyd Cru Wines in Silver Spring, a Black family-owned wine brand. Third place and $10,000 went to Herschel Ruben of Compressent LLC, a Baltimore company that designs ergonomic products that accommodate the unique ways our brains work. Fourth place and $7,500 went to Rodney Winmond of VERO Security Solutions, LLC, a security company in New Freedom, Pennsylvania that utilizes off-duty police officers as security officers and provides firearms and security-related training.

Stacey Dennis of Parkville-based Whispers In My Ears LLC and Staci Newman of KiddieLane in Baltimore won runner-up awards of $5,000. Whispers in My Ears is a sexual health education program aimed at adolescents and young adults. KiddieLane is a software-as-a-service company that provides cloud-based online scheduling and business management software applications for the underserved after-school activity and enrichment program industry.

Since 2013, CCBC’s Annual Business Plan Competition has helped launch 47 new businesses and distributed $329,980 in seed money. Over the past 10 years, more than 4,200 people have engaged with CBI’s business programs and 2,772 people have earned college and continuing education credits in a variety of entrepreneurial courses and workshops.

The finalists in this year’s competition were among 173 who participated in workshops leading up to the competition with 28 submitting business plans to compete. Out of the 10 finalists, seven are women, 90% are age 30 or older, 70% are minorities, and 80% of the businesses are owned by either women, minorities or veterans.