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updated: 11/19/2014 5:51 PM

Student entrepreneurs face 'sharks' at ECC

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  • Elgin Community College student Ross Pekarek, 20, of Algonquin pitches his idea for a Mexican food truck business called Flaco's Tacos to the judges Wednesday at the ECC "Shark Tank 2014." The competition was part of the college's Global Entrepreneurship Week. Pekarek finished second among four college students.

      Elgin Community College student Ross Pekarek, 20, of Algonquin pitches his idea for a Mexican food truck business called Flaco's Tacos to the judges Wednesday at the ECC "Shark Tank 2014." The competition was part of the college's Global Entrepreneurship Week. Pekarek finished second among four college students.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Judges gather to determine the winner among three Hampshire High School students who pitched their business ideas Wednesday at Elgin Community College's "Shark Tank 2014." The judges are Michael Chahino of ECC, from left, Jason Tews of Kelmscott Communications, Yvonne Irving of Kane County Teachers Credit Union, Tom Walter of Tasty Catering, and Jacqueline Camacho of JRR Marketing.

      Judges gather to determine the winner among three Hampshire High School students who pitched their business ideas Wednesday at Elgin Community College's "Shark Tank 2014." The judges are Michael Chahino of ECC, from left, Jason Tews of Kelmscott Communications, Yvonne Irving of Kane County Teachers Credit Union, Tom Walter of Tasty Catering, and Jacqueline Camacho of JRR Marketing.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Elgin Community College business student Josh Peterson of Streamwood signals to a contestant during the "Shark Tank 2014" competition to wrap up their 90-second presentation Wednesday.

      Elgin Community College business student Josh Peterson of Streamwood signals to a contestant during the "Shark Tank 2014" competition to wrap up their 90-second presentation Wednesday.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
 

Four Elgin Community College and three Hampshire High School students pitched ideas for potential business startups in a "Shark Tank"-style competition Wednesday as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week at ECC.

Unlike the popular ABC-TV show during which "sharks" or venture capitalists vet ideas from aspiring entrepreneurs that could land them lucrative deals, there were no millionaires made at ECC.

Contestants had 90 seconds to pitch their ideas without notes or props, identify their target audience for the product, how and where it can be purchased, and what made it unique. Judges peppered participants with detailed questions after each presentation.

Hampshire High School student Kasy Reigner, 16, took first place for "Cricket's Cakery," a bakery using all-natural ingredients. She even brought pumpkin spice cupcakes for judges to try.

"I was surprised. I thought it was an overall good experience to have for my future," Reigner said. "I would recommend this to anyone who is nervous about talking in front of people because it gives them the experience to get over their nerves."

First place at the collegiate level went to Yvonne Fitzpatrick of Elgin for her business idea called Ivy Locker, a web-based business idea she said she's been developing since 1999. It is a subscription-based company that protects and manages a person's financial and insurance issues at the end of their life "so when a person dies, the family is not victimized so much by identity theft."

Locker said giving the presentation was nerve-wracking because she had to provide so much information in a short period of time. She said she was surprised she won.

"There's a lot of good talent here. You just never know," she said, adding that winning was a confidence builder. "There's so much work not only trying to write a script, but practicing, trying to refine it, trying to get it all within the 90 seconds ... that is such a challenge."

Locker said her next step is work with contacts she made in marketing and public relations to get her product in front of the public.

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