Shark Tank Comes to TMCC

Several small pictures coming together to make a light bulb.
Rebecca A. Eckland

Patterned after the critically acclaimed reality TV show, TMCC’s Shark Tank Competition celebrates great ideas and entrepreneurial spirit by offering participating students the chance to win $500 in cash for their next brilliant idea.  If business plans, financial statements or supporting documentation aren’t your “thing”, no worries: TMCC’s Shark Tank is all about your idea... and your ability to present it in an appealing way. 
Hosted by the TMCC Business and Entrepreneurship Club (BE-Club) and TMCC’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society Chapter and supported by the TMCC Foundation’s 1971 Society, Shark Tank ranks your pitch according to three criteria: the idea itself, proof of its marketability and demonstration of competitive advantage. In other words, your idea has to be unique, it has to have some appeal to potential consumers and ways that set the execution of your idea apart from the way others would do it.
Business Professor and Faculty Lead for the Business and Entrepreneurship Club Nancy O’Neal said that interested contestants have no limit on what kind of product or service they can pitch. “They need to have a new business idea,” she said. But, what exactly can be pitched is completely up to that student. “Right now, technology—specifically, ideas for new apps—are trending, as are services that have to do with social or environmental responsibility.”
O’Neal describes a service that a student pitched at a past event which involved handing out containers to homeowners in areas that didn’t offer recycling services. The student proposed a service that would retrieve the contents of that container and splitting the proceeds from the recycling center with the homeowner. 
New ideas for a business—whether as a part of brick and mortar storefront or through an online store—are also options. O’Neal has also literally seen a pitch that reinvented the wheel. “It rotated faster than wheels that have been around for thousands of years.” 
No matter what a student wants to pitch, O’Neal suggests starting with your interests and passions, and see where that leads you. In the past, she’s seen culinary arts students pitch ideas for food and drink trucks, and students who are interested in social responsibility have started programs that help others to get involved in the cause.  Starting with your passion for a competition like this is key: if you’re passionate about your idea, chances are, you’ll be passionate about telling others about it, too.

How to Dive into the TMCC Shark Tank

You don’t have to be a business major: Shark Tank offers the innovative-minded a chance to earn up to $500 cash. Second and third place will be awarded $250 and $125 in prize money, respectively.
The contest, which is open to all students regardless of major, unfolds in two rounds. The Qualifying Round happens on Nov. 5 at 5:30 p.m. in RDMT 256 on the Dandini Campus. Participants should prepare a pitch that is no longer than three minutes long. Additionally, visual aids are not permitted and no question or answer round will follow the three-minute pitch.  
No matter the number of participants, six finalists will be selected to move onto the Final Round, which happens on Nov. 12 from 5:30–7:30 p.m. in RDMT 256.  If you make it to the final round, you’ll have five minutes to pitch your idea, which will be followed by a five-minute question-and-answer session.
Interested students can register online up to the date of the preliminary round. For more information about Shark Tank, contact the TMCC Business and Entrepreneurship Club at 775-673-7132.