Startup Maryland Tour Hits Bethesda


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A group of local entrepreneurs got a crash course in how to pitch their businesses at Startup Maryland's stop in Bethesda on Monday afternoon. A select few then got to board the bus, stopped at the corner of Cordell and Woodmont Avenues near Bethesda Green, and film a three to five minute pitch to be judged by a panel of experts. The top eight businesses statewide will move on to a November entrepreneur expo. The winner and runner-up will get spots in major 2013 pitch events, where Startup Maryland hopes they can find angel investors and other connections to help their businesses prosper. "We've been flabbergasted by the number of people, the diversity of the businesses," said Julie Lenzer Kirk, executive director of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship and an organizer of the project. "There are some real gems here that we just don't hear about. So that's what we want to do, we want to bring these incredible companies into the light." The Bethesda Green stop was one of three planned for Montgomery County, and according to organizers, a natural place to find start-up businesses looking for money and exposure. "We know it's here. This was one of the more comprehensive stops," said Michael Binko, another organizer of the tour whose Kloudtrack financial services firm began in Bethesda in the offices of an angel investor. A panel including Honest Tea founder and CEO Seth Goldman gave critiques of proposals during an afternoon workshop that included pitches from Bethesda-based Gator Ron's Zesty Sauces, A.I.R. Lawn Care and Joyful Bath Co. Binko and Kirk are encouraging people to vote on the video pitches when they go online in October. For more information on Startup Maryland, visit its Facebook page.

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