Judson University to host 'Shark Tank' event supporting entrepreneurship
Judson University will again host its annual "Shark Tank" event in support of student entrepreneurship and creativity.
The popular student event will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, in Herrick Chapel, 1151 N. State St. in Elgin.
The finalists will compete for a total prize of $2,000, divided among the three winners and an "audience choice." This event is free and open to the public.
Inspired by the reality business pitch series "Shark Tank" on ABC Network, Judson's annual event serves as a platform to engage the student body and foster creativity and entrepreneurship. Students prepare a pitch for their own business and deliver their presentation before a panel of judges. These judges are chosen for their leadership in local businesses.
Out of the 16 students who pitched their ideas to Judson faculty, staff, and students, six finalists were chosen by a vote.
These students are Moses Gonzales III of Riverside, Calif.; Diamond Holmes of Danville, Ill.; Michael Ford of Rockford, Ill., Riley Rowan of Algonquin, Ill., Michael Mikhail of Elgin, Ill., and Teesean Patterson of Toledo, Ohio.
These students also have the opportunity to work with business mentors to develop their business plans and learn valuable skills for perfecting their pitch. The competition is part of an ongoing effort in the Business department in which faculty and students partner together for experiential learning opportunities. Mentors for this year include Kevin Krak of Gallant Building Solutions; Mike Lee of KCT Credit Union; Francisco Villa and Mikyle Jessen of National Corporate Credit and Lisa Waller of BDG International.
Judges for this year's Shark Tank are Dan Marquardt of Marquardt Chevrolet; Jennifer Kendzior of Thrivent Financial, and Tim Schofield, the YouTube content creator of Your Tech Simplified.
The prize money for "Shark Tank" is sponsored by Thrivent Financial, a Fortune 500 nonprofit financial services organization with a local office in Elgin. In addition to the prize money, there will also be a variety of raffle prizes for the audience to win by attending. The event will be emceed by John Ashworth, Class of 2020, the 2017 Shark Tank winner who is from Amsterdam.