Shore Hatchery competition recognizes, rewards entrepreneurs


When Marsha Hammond of Baltimore underwent treatment for breast cancer two years ago, receiving chemotherapy was unnerving. 

“I was terrified,” she said. “I had to come up with a way to reframe the experience for myself.”

A friend in the nursing profession suggested she consider the medications flowing from her IV bag not as drugs, but as representations of happier things. “Why don’t you just envision it to be something like love or light?” she said. The thought not only helped Hammond through her recovery; it sparked an award-winning business idea: “I said, ‘I’m an artist. I can MAKE it love or light.’”

The resulting product, Dhremo Therapy IV Decals, produced by Hammond’s company, Mind the Current, LLC, are meant to be applied on the side of IV drip bags facing the patient. Designed to look like old-time medical labels, they extol the virtues of the good things entering the patient’s body.

The creative appliqués drew the attention of the judges during the seventh round of Salisbury University’s Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation Shore Hatchery competition, netting Hammond $25,000.

Staying true to the program’s goal of helping to create job opportunities, she plans to use the money to hire staff, as well as increase her marketing efforts, establish a pediatric line of labels and start an online platform that will allow customers to personalize the labels.

This semester’s competition drew a record 28 entries, literally changing the way the event was held. For the first time, the program employed two competition rooms of judges, who heard pitches simultaneously. This change in the Gull Cage created efficiency in the pitch process allowing more competitors to participate. Also new this year was a public Shore Hatchery Exhibition, allowing participants to showcase their products and ideas to the campus and local community.

Among the competitors were students from the inaugural class of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA), as well as SU Student Entrepreneurship Competition winners and former Ratcliffe Shore Hatchery competitors and winners.

“It’s pretty incredible that we have an age range of participants from middle school, to college, to post-college,” said Doug Wilson, managing principal of Private Wealth Partners, LLC, and a member of the Ratcliffe Shore Hatchery board of directors.

William Burke, SU executive director for economic development, also noted the diversity of the competitors and their ideas. In the end, judges divided some $95,000 among eight winners. Along with Mind the Current, LLC, they included:

  •        Mobtown Fermentation – $15,000. This Timonium, MD-based company specializes in brewing kombucha, a type of fermented tea. A past Ratcliffe Shore Hatchery winner, it received additional funds for expansion.
  •        Picklehead, LLC – $15,000. YEA student R.J. Batts, a Parkside High School freshman, received funding for his product, Cutting Edge, a guide that helps cooks protect their fingers when chopping vegetables and other foods.
  •        Badjo-T Industries – $10,000. Inspired by video games and anime, the principals of this company design and manufacture custom, high-tech suits for live-action role playing. This round marked their third as Ratcliffe Shore Hatchery winners.
  •        Gel-e Life Sciences – $10,000. The University of Maryland, College Park, startup has developed an advanced wound care formula based on a protein found in crab shells.
  •        Neuro Helmet Systems – $10,000. A 2016 SU Student Entrepreneurship Competition finalist, this company develops and markets high-end, high-tech motorcycle helmets.
  •        Stock Scholars – $5,000. YEA student Marvin Li, a Bennett Middle School eighth grader, impressed judges with his interactive online platform geared toward teaching children about financial literacy through games and fun activities.
  •        TNP Studios – $5,000. This company, whose initials stand for “The Next Phase,” specializes in podcast production and consulting.

In addition to funding, winners and participants also receive mentoring support from the program’s board. Members include business leaders such as Dave Rommel and Mike Cottingham of Rommel Holdings, Inc.; Frank Gunion of South Moon Under; Jennifer Layton of Layton’s Chance Vineyards; and Winery and Katherine Kiernan of APPI Energy, among others.

The eighth installment of the competition is scheduled in the spring, with a potential $105,000 in seed funding available. Administered through SU’s Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, the goal of the Ratcliffe Shore Hatchery program is to fund entrepreneurs in the mid-Atlantic and have new businesses opening within six months, with the potential of employing five or more within a year.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU website at

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