Creative Biz Challenge: Inspiring Local Innovation and Entrepreneurship
November 9, 2013
Let’s showcase and celebrate creative entrepreneurs in the DC Metro Area.
This startup business contest was for creatives!
Creatives start their own business to solve 21st century problems and meet market demands while channeling their personal passion and creativity into every area of their business. Using their unique creative competency, these entrepreneurs were found building interesting and transformative businesses in almost every industry.
Competition Finalists pitched their biz onstage in front of a live audience and panel of professionals at NYU Washington, DC in the Abramson Family Auditorium.
Meet the Judges
Ann Bevans (Host); Founder, Ann Bevans Collective
Ann Bevans founded Ann Bevans Collective in 2000. As Chief Smarty Pants, Ann helps clients articulate messages that matter and create print and online marketing programs that communicate those messages with impact. A writer by training, Ann is also an accomplished web programmer and database developer.
Ann’s superpower is clarity. She sorts through everything her clients think they want to say and identifies the few key messages that will motivate their prospects to take action. Her results-oriented approach to marketing and lead generation has won her a legion of fans across her 15 years in the business.
Ann asks tough questions and doesn’t accept flimsy answers. She makes music and writes fiction. She does all her own stunts.
Ann lives in Clarksburg, Maryland with her husband Dave and their son, Sam.
Amy Austin; Publisher, Washington City Paper
Amy Austin is the longtime publisher of Washington City Paper, one of the country’s leading alternative weeklies. With exceptional editorial voice and a digital suaveness that makes City Paper a leader in online audience and revenue, Amy has helped City Paper cultivate an ideal combination: an audience of local young professionals who interact with the website and the print publication several times a week, and key local advertisers who depend on Washington City Paper to talk with this hard-to-reach audience. Amy understands that good journalism is the path to success: Dating back two decades and several media revolutions, she has built a market-leading print publication and a robust online platform alongside strong editors including David Carr, the recent subject of Page One, The New York Times documentary. She believes the current editorial voice is at its highest-level of excellence with the current editor, Michael Schaffer. Today City Paper’s digital revenues and audience outpace online sites and comparable alternative publications.
Amy is a also an active member of the community, known among the leaders in government, arts and entertainment, sports, and restaurant community for her passionate devotion to improving and participating in Washington D.C.
Sterling Crockett; CEO, Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company
Sterling Crockett is the founder and Chairman of Sterling Construction Services Incorporated (SCS). SCS is a General Contracting and Remediation firm established in 1999 serving government and commercial clients. SCS currently provides services to the Pentagon Renovation Project and has participated in the disaster recovery efforts of both the Phoenix Project and the Department of the Navy’s efforts following Hurricane Katrina. He has been on the Board of Advisors for USG since July 0f 2009.
Mr. Crockett is also Chairman of R4 Incorporated, a service-disabled veteran-owned company established in 2005 that provides reliable fielding support and soldier-to-soldier total training solutions in a rapid-response environment. R4 currently has teams deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and in Africa. In this position, Mr. Crockett provides strategic support and guidance to R4’s executive leadership in the areas of Business Development, contracting, and outreach activities.
In addition to his Board role at USG, Mr. Crockett sits on the Boards of the National Philharmonic, Victim’s Rights Foundation, and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce where he is also Vice-Chair of the Small Business Committee. Additionally, he is a member of the Baltimore and District of Columbia chapters of the Associated Builders & Contractors, as well as the District of Columbia Metropolitan Subcontractors Association and the Maryland Washington Minority Contractors’ Association. Mr. Crockett is a member of the Small Environmental Business Action Coalition and a lifetime member of the NAACP.
In November of 2008, Mr. Crockett was recognized as Small Business Leader of the Year by the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. In recent years, he has been named Board Member of the Year for the Victim’s Rights Foundation and his construction firm, which has been identified as one of Maryland’s Top 100 MBEs, was awarded the Small Business Award of Excellence presented by Hensel Phelps Construction Company in recognition of their efforts within the industry.
Mr. Crockett holds a B.A. degree in Economics and Computer Science from Iona College, New York, and is recognized as an asbestos and lead-based paint expert.
Anil Pereira; EagleBank
Anil Pereira is one of the leaders in community banking at the Silver Spring branch of EagleBank. EagleBank is a local community business bank with eighteen offices in Montgomery County, MD, Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. The bank focuses on providing superior customer service and custom financial solutions for the local business community. Anil was born in India and at 9 years old moved to the carpet capital of the world Dalton, Georgia. Anil is married to Lauren and has two wonderful children Kaden and Riley. Anil played in the American Indoor Football League for the Daytona Beach Thunder before graduating from Mount Saint Mary’s University and beginning work for EagleBank.
Hans Riemer; At-Large Member, Montgomery County Council
Council Member Hans Riemer joined the Montgomery County Council in 2010 to represent nearly a million residents in a growing and rapidly diversifying county. Hans serves on the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy & Environment Committee as well as the Government Operations & Fiscal Policy Committee.
He has built a distinguished career in public policy advocacy and organizing – playing a leadership role in protecting Social Security from privatization and expanding health insurance coverage for young adults and as a strong community advocate for practical transportation solutions for Montgomery County.
Hans’ work in Montgomery County and around the region has prepared him to tackle the challenges we face head on. As a board member and past president of the Action Committee for Transit, Hans helped steer one of Montgomery County’s strongest citizen organizations as the group made steady progress to protect Metro and RideOn services as well as advance the Purple Line and the I-270 Corridor Cities Transitway. Hans has a deep understanding of how Montgomery County can use transit to add new jobs and housing without clogging our roads with more and more cars.
Hans’ prior work has bridged generational divides, bringing seniors together with young adults to find common ground on key policy issues. Hans was a senior advisor for AARP, where he focused on retirement security policy as well as community engagement. A nationally recognized leader on Social Security reform, Hans played a crucial role organizing the coalition that fought President Bush on Social Security privatization. As National Youth Vote Director for Obama for America, Hans was a key early staffer on President Obama’s campaign. Starting with the landslide turnout of young voters in the Iowa Caucus and continuing through the Maryland primary, he helped millions of young voters to raise their voices for change. Hans was also instrumental in forming the Montgomery County and Maryland for Obama operations, bringing the new politics of the Obama campaign home to his community. In the 2004 election, Hans served as political director for Rock the Vote’s election campaign, which registered nearly a million young voters.
Hans founded a non-profit policy organization, the 2030 Center, in 1996, and directed it until 2001. He has testified before Montgomery County boards, the Maryland General Assembly and the United States Congress on multiple issues including after-school programming, the Purple Line, and fiscal and budget policy. He has joined panels with President Clinton, Vice President Gore, Treasury Secretary Rubin, and is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. In his neighborhood, Hans served on the Long Branch Advisory Committee to help improve the quality of life in an underserved area of the county.
Hans and his wife Angela, along with their young son, Henry, live in Silver Spring near Montgomery College. Hans was born and raised in Oakland, California and graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1995.
Andy Shallal; Owner, Busboys and Poets
Anas “Andy” Shallal is an Iraqi American activist, artist and social entrepreneur. He is the founder and proprietor of Busboys and Poets, an activism center and café in Washington DC, which features prominent speakers and authors and provides a venue for social and political activism. Since its inception, Busboys and Poets has become the most blogged about restaurant and gathering place in Washington DC and has become an incubator for activism and social change. Andy Shallal is a member of the board of trustees for The Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal think tank. He also sits on several arts and philanthropic boards, including The Washington Peace Center, The Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at GMU, DC Vote, Think Local First, Social Venture Network, The National Arab American Museum and Split This Rock Poetry Festival.