Judson University's Shark Tank competition goes into final round Nov. 15
Judson University's fifth Shark Tank event will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, in Herrick Chapel, 1151 N. State St. in Elgin.
The finalists have been selected. The judges are in place, and the stage is set for the top competitors to win nearly $2,000 in prize money.
Inspired by ABC Network's business competition show, "Shark Tank," Judson's pitch competition debuted in spring 2015.
This year's competition began with a Shark Tank Ideas Showcase in the Campus Commons to allow staff, students and faculty an opportunity to vote for their favorite business ideas. The five voted best will now share their pitches during the Nov. 15 event.
The competing students are:
• Freshmen Joey Pepper and Andrew Lewis, both from Elgin, Ill., and their idea for a Missionary Sports organization.
• Junior Riley Rowan of Algonquin, Ill., and sophomore Sean Doherty of Genoa, Ill., and their idea for Story Time.
• Senior Thomas Fenske of Crystal Lake, Ill., and his idea for The Package Protector.
• Junior Hannah McDowell of South Elgin, Ill., and her Garage 622 idea.
• Senior Nathanael DeLong of Mendota, Ill., and his idea for MicroPHONE.
Business mentors helped prepare the contestants for the event by discussing the economics of the business including startup costs, pricing, structure, and the break-even point. The business mentors included Ben Glunz from Anguleris Technologies, Blaine Bontempo from Calibre Coffee, Rob Umlauf from Thrivent Financial, and Donna Impala.
Their projects will be carefully scrutinized by a panel of judges that include:
Kevin Krak, president and CEO of Gallant Building Solutions, a 70-year-old construction and maintenance services provider. Gallant is one of Crain's top privately held companies for several years and voted one of Chicago's Best and Brightest companies for three years in a row. Krak is also the founder and visionary for RocHaus, a live music venue in West Dundee, Ill.
Dan Marquardt, co-owner of Marquardt Buick-GMC in Barrington and serves on the board of directors for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association. Marquardt Buick -- GMC is the host of the mini auto show prior to the event, weather permitting.
Jennifer Kendzior, recruiter at Thrivent Financial, sponsor of the contest prizes this year. Jennifer graduated with a major in Entrepreneurship from Bradley University in 2011.
Patricia Szpekowski, president of PR Strategies & Communication at PmS Advertising in Elgin, which is a full-service advertising agency and public relations firm she founded in 1987.
The competition won't be strictly about business ideas only. Weather permitting, there will be a mini auto show from 6 to 7 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to win raffle prizes including a free hotel stay and tickets to the Chicago Auto Show; a basket featuring writings from past World Leaders Forum speakers as well as two World Leaders Forum tickets, and gift cards from BleuRoot and Craft Donuts. The event will be hosted by Judson senior communication major Jennifer Dotson.
The competition's grand prize is $1,000, with $500 and $250 prizes for second and third place, and a $100 prize for the fan favorite.