FCC Students Earn Scholarships for Business Plans


Frederick Community College students recently presented their ideas and business plans remotely via Skype to a panel of judges. They were hoping for an opportunity to launch their dreams and earn one of three college scholarships as part of the seventh FCC Business Plan Contest supported by M&T Bank.

Students Jenny DiSandro and Cyra Golwalla took the top scholarship prize of $2,500 for their plan for Root 355, a 100-seat restaurant serving locally sourced vegetarian and vegan options. The restaurant would offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner items such as waffle sliders, banana bread, French toast, roasted Brussels sprouts, Asian kale salads and more.

Student Chahat Dutta earned a $1,500 second place scholarship for Calories Count, a restaurant that would operate in the fast-casual niche. The restaurant would target individuals for breakfast and families for lunch and dinner. The eatery and its nutritious fare would compete against fast food and traditional sit-down options and offer home delivery service.

Earning third place and a $1,000 scholarship was student Rebekah Sprague for Laughing Reaper. Sprague’s plan was to expand an existing business in the cosplay market that features anime and game themed items. It would expand to offer t-shirt and hat printing. The company would utilize its current business experience to grow into new markets.

The students may use their scholarships from M&T Bank to cover expenses at FCC, or to further their studies at another college or university.

“Each of you has faced many challenges over the past weeks,” FCC President Elizabeth Burmaster told the students. “I applaud you for persevering and working on your business plans and not giving up on your dreams, despite obstacles. Flexibility is often a hallmark in the marketplace, and in life. I know you’ve worked hard on your plans and made adjustments.”

The annual contest was open to any current FCC student enrolled in a credit or noncredit course. Individual students or teams had an opportunity to develop a business plan to expand or create a new venture. The judges reviewed 13 written applications and narrowed the field to the three finalists. The students were evaluated on their written plans (60 percent) and oral presentations (40 percent).

Judges were Whitney Dahlberg, a local artist, columnist, and former owner of The Muse; James Gorman, vice president with M&T Bank; Jon Holmes, CPA, principal with LSWG Certified Public Accountants, and current director on the FCC Foundation Board; Steve Schmidt, founder of Frederick Air Inc., and Dave Schmidt who runs the company’s daily operations. Steve is a former director of the FCC Foundation Board, and Dave a current member.

“We are grateful to M&T Bank for believing in the power of higher education and providing this unique scholarship opportunity for our students,” noted President Burmaster. “Each year, its support brings together our College and business community and rewards a group of hardworking students for their creative business ideas.”

President Burmaster also thanked the FCC Business Plan Contest planning team that included Larry Devan, Doree Lynn Miles, Dr. Karen Wilson, and Deborah Powell. Contest mentors and advisors were Charles “Rick” Dillon, Norman Endlich, Bruce LeFleur, and Thomas Mazerski. Endlich also served as event moderator.