Students Present Business Ideas at Shark Tank-Style Event
Campus News

Students in Jeremy VanAndel’s “Development of Entrepreneurial Mindset” course gathered in The Historic Artcraft Theatre on Tuesday, Nov. 29 to participate in a Shark Tank-like event, showcasing their own semester-long business projects. This event went in conjunction with Franklin College’s #GRIZTuesday, a 24-hour day of giving, during which the college raised $178,037 for athletics, surpassing its $100,000 goal.

The students were separated into six groups. Each group had to present a different idea to panelists and at the end of the evening, the audience was able to pick their favorite for an Audience Choice Award. The winning presentation was NIL Central, an idea brainstormed by students Brooke Stephens from Columbus, Kai Ross from Lizton, Jimmy Wolff from Greenwood, and Jenna Louden from Bedford.

NIL Central was formed because the group saw that even though college athletes can participate in endorsement deals called Name, Image and Likeness agreements, most of the deals go to Division I athletes. Their idea would form a bridge between athletes of other divisions and companies to offer more inclusion and opportunities for athletes to support themselves financially.

“The value this event offers is that you can do anything you put your mind to. My group and I started out with an idea and then we were able to dig deeper into what all we needed for when we presented at Shark Tank,” Louden said.

While the Shark Tank-style event is a regular addition to the academic calendar, this year’s event was the first time students were able to show their ideas in-person since before the pandemic.

“The ability to communicate complex ideas in a simple and easy-to-understand way, to adapt, and to be resilient are things we learn to do by doing them. Being thrown into an event like this and to defend your own creative work is not an easy task, and our students rose to the occasion,” VanAndel said.

There were five other presentations, and they each sought to offer unique ideas and solutions to issues.

One that hits rather close to campus, Grizz Mart, proposed that Franklin College open a convenience store for hungry students unable to visit Parkhurst Dining during dining hours.

Another idea, SUPERHUMANATHLETE, was inspired by student-athletes who noticed that despite being in different positions for their respective sports, whole teams were still expected to use the same workout regimens. Students with this idea proposed that they would provide position-specific workouts to aid athletes in the way they need most.

Although the event is over for now, variations are expected in the future.

“The class is offered every semester so the pitch event will definitely happen again,” VanAndel said. “I don’t know that we’ll take over the Artcraft again in the spring, but there will absolutely be another pitching party!”

Contact the Franklin College Office of Communications for more information at (317) 738-8185.


POSTED Dec 21, 2022