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Ninety Students Vie for Cash Prizes in Annual Entrepreneur Challenge

April 29, 2021

Nine teams took home thousands of dollars in prizes last week at Idaho State’s Shark Tank 101 Entrepreneur Challenge. 
 
Every semester the Idaho State University College of Business and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CEED) host the challenge to give students across campus and in all sections of the Management 1101 course the opportunity to develop a business proposal for a unique idea then present it in a four-minute pitch to a panel of judges for a chance at nearly $4,000 in cash prizes. Because the competition is open to all sections, high school students taking the dual enrollment Management 1101 course have also competed.
 
This semester, 55 ideas were presented with pitches coming from 90 underclassmen students. In total, 110 individual pitches were given in 15-minute intervals to a group of 19 judges including alumni, community business people and Idaho State faculty and staff. According to program advisor and director of CEED, Dr. Jeff Street, the competition spanned over two days taking place on Zoom and consisted of eight hours of judging.
 
"The Shark Tank 101 Entrepreneur Challenge encourages underclassmen students to explore innovation and their latent entrepreneurial interests,” Street said. “Idaho is known for its entrepreneurial spirit, and we believe some of the best ideas come from young people like our amazing Idaho State students!”
 
Teams are chosen based on a score range.  The first-place prize of $500 went to four teams:
 
Amy Perez Swift and Alexander Perez: Swiftly Unique 
  • Focuses on helping end the pollution of glass bottles by creating a new way to innovate recycled wine and beer bottles into uniquely designed candles. 
 
Briana Steele: Mobile Note
  • An online notary platform, linking DocuSign and the National Notary Association’s database of educated notaries around the country.
 
Cristina Roberts and Madi Hernandez: eMirror Fit 
  • A virtual fitting room. When scrolling through the apparel, the customer can choose an item and “try it on” as the website allows them to create a virtual mannequin of themselves. 
 
Mya McKown and Zayne Dayley: Auto Detailer
  • On-site auto detailing in which the company travels to the customers/clients themselves to detail their vehicles, making it as convenient for them as we can. 
 
The second-place prize of $350 went to:
 
Nathan Speck: Little Navarre
  • A Basque Food Truck for both a cultural and culinary experience. It would bring the cooking experience to the customer by having a cooking area where the customer gets to watch their food being made.
 
And the third-place prizes went to four teams winning $250:
 
Adriene Pavek and Mei Ryan: Door2Door
  • An app that connects our staff with family members of older adults to help them with daily activities like mowing the lawn, cooking meals, walking the dog, etc. The software functions similarly to DoorDash or Uber.
 
Corey Bingham and Grant Baird: Bumble Gum
  • A honey exchange. Sourced locally in the area of the customer, natural honey available in individual, small, glass, reusable bottles shipped nationally.  
 
Scott Madrid: Smart Deck
  • Spa Foundation Kit that can be installed in the same day as purchase of spa, suitable for maintaining warranty of spa unit. 
 
Vivian Daley and Haley Negus: “The Daze” Bed and Brunch 
  • A beautiful, bright, classy place, where you can wed, bed and brunch.
 
College of Business Dean, Dr. Shane Hunt also chose a winner for the Dean’s Choice Award of $500. Hunt chose this winner based on best efforts in marketing and presentation going to Amy Perez Swift and Alexander Perez of Swiftly Unique.
 
Street said fall semester had an equally large participation of students, consisting of 86 underclassmen.
 
“All-in-all, combining the two semesters, nearly 20 percent of the College of Business undergraduate enrollment has gone through the Shark Tank experience,” said Street. He said they are also counting on adding 10 to 15 students to that percentage in the upcoming summer 2021 course.
 
Students’ ideas must follow a small criterion including: being a problem, with a proposed solution and the idea must have a targeted customer that the business would impact.
 
 “Management 1101 was developed by the group of instructors teaching the different sections,” Street explained. “Our vision for this class was to create a multi-component course that promotes active learning and engagement with the realities of business, encouraging students to think like business people rather than just learning about them. We treat entrepreneurship as a method that demands practice. Entrepreneurship practice requires creative and nimble thinking leading to a heightened level of experimentation, such as Shark Tank 101.”