UMD Shark Tank Entrepreneurship Competition

UMD Shark Tank
March 16, 2016

All UMD students who have entrepreneurial aspirations are invited to participate in the first ever UMD Shark Tank, an entrepreneurship competition whereby students pitch their ideas for a business, product, or service to a panel of judges (similar to the popular TV show) for a chance to win prize money. The competition is supported this year by the Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) and the LaBounty Center for Entrepreneurship Fund.

All UMD students who have entrepreneurial aspirations are invited to participate in the first ever UMD Shark Tank, an entrepreneurship competition whereby students pitch their ideas for a business, product, or service to a panel of judges (similar to the popular TV show) for a chance to win prize money. The competition is supported this year by the Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) and the LaBounty Center for Entrepreneurship Fund.

This competition, the brain child of Entrepreneurship students, Tori Seymour and Abraham Tuomi, will be judged by a panel of Duluth business professionals and offers cash prizes for the top three business ideas with a first place prize of $1,500. The audience also has the opportunity to vote for their favorite business idea and can win that entrepreneur $300.

The event will be held April 26, 2016, from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. in UMD’s Marshall Performing Arts Center. It is free and open to the public.

“We wanted a student run competition that gave all students across the UMD campus the opportunity to pursue their business ideas,” said Seymour. “We also wanted to make this more of an event allowing other students, faculty, and community members to come and participate.”

The UMD Shark Tank is quite different than past entrepreneurship competitions. “The past competition involved just the contestants and the judges. This year we are really focusing on having this competition become a school-wide event. We want people to come and watch, ask the contestants questions about their business ideas, and indulge in light refreshments. There is also the opportunity for the audience to win door prizes,” said Seymour.

Students who are interested in presenting their idea are asked to fill out an application, which can be found on the event's Facebook page "$1,500" or on the LSBE website at lsbe.d.umn.edu/centers-outreach/centers/umd-shark-tank. Applications are due April 1. Ideas at any stage are welcome, from brand new ideas to those that are already being pursued and/or are active. A review committee composed of officers of the Entrepreneurship Club and select faculty will blindly review the applications and select up to a possible 10 business ideas/models as finalists for the event. 

The LaBounty Center for Entrepreneurship Fund was established by a generous gift from local entrepreneur, Roy E. LaBounty, founder of LaBounty Manufacturing in Two Harbors, MN, and long-standing UMD supporter.  In 1999, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Joel Labovitz Entrepreneurial Success Awards event. Mr. LaBounty died in November 2007.

The Fund is administered by the Labovitz School's dean's office and encourages entrepreneurship and business development initiatives throughout Northeastern Minnesota. Its current activities include sponsoring a student internship at the Center for Economic Development, sponsoring faculty research in entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurial competitions. 

Additional sponsorships are also being sought for the competition.  Those interested in sponsoring can contact umdsharktank@gmail.com