Salisbury University offers numerous programs to attract budding entrepreneurs, including majors and minors focused on business as well as the biannual Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation Shore Hatchery entrepreneurship competition.
The competition offers a chance for entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses and win funding to support their projects.
While normally held in person, this semester’s Ratcliffe Foundation Shore Hatchery competition was held over Zoom on Oct. 30. Entrepreneurs gave a one-minute elevator pitch followed by about six minutes of Q&A.
Though the competition is open to entrepreneurs outside the university’s student body, five of the six competition winners were either current SU students or alumni.
Senior business management major Josh Woozley scored big, as his business, Night Ice, LLC, won $30,000 in funding. According to a Nov. 10 press release from Salisbury University’s website, “The company’s affordable advanced ice therapy units, marketed primarily to physical therapists and athletic trainers, are expected to have an impact on health care in the region and beyond.”
Woozley explained that he advanced the basic ice therapy machine by “incorporating the ability to … conduct on-off cycles to reduce inflammation … And then we’ve also added a thermoelectric device that cools the water for you, so you don’t have to refill with ice, so you can use it throughout the night, [because] usually with these devices, you have to wake up to refill with ice.”
Woozley was shocked to find out he won the competition, stating, “[W]ith the Shore Hatchery, you’re going up against established businesses that have sales, so, I was quite surprised … but very, very happy to win.”
Tia Hobby, a senior marketing major, is another SU student whose business received funding from the Ratcliffe Foundation Shore Hatchery competition. Her business, CLUTCH by Tia Dash, a purse and apparel company, received $10,000 in funding.
“So it’s [CLUTCH by Tia Dash] pretty much a business that I created my sophomore year here at Salisbury where I started off just sewing clutch purses myself,” Hobby explained.
“I had a sewing machine, and it actually wasn’t a business to begin with. It was just something I did in my free time for myself, and I’d wear them and get asked about them or where I got them,” Hobby said. “And when I started telling people that I made them, they started putting in orders for me to make some for them.”
“And when I realized there was a market for it, I turned it into a business.”
But Hobby said her feelings about winning the competition extended beyond just the funding.
“It was definitely a rewarding feeling."
However, Woozley and Hobby are not the only SU students whose businesses secured funding in this competition.
The Buzz Meadery, according to the press release, is a “Maryland Class 4 limited winery specializing in small-batch mead made with locally sourced fruit and honey,” created by Brett and Megan Hines. The two were awarded $20,000 in funding.
Megan Hines is an adjunct professor in the Seidel School of Education as well as a Doctor of Education student at SU.
SU alumni also secured funding for their businesses.
Valkyrie Software Solutions, started by SU alumnus Cameron Kane, won $10,000 in the competition, which consists of “accessibility software for the video game industry, with an initial focus on audio accessibility,” according to the press release.
SIMPLi, which the press release described as a “socially and environmentally sustainable platform for sourcing ingredients from international farming communities,” was started by SU alumnus Matthew Cohen, who also received $10,000 in funding for his business.
For more information, visit the Shore Hatchery’s website, https://www.salisbury.edu/academic-offices/business/shore-hatchery/.
By ALLISON GUY
Featured image courtesy of Salisbury University Public Relations Office.