UF to host its own version of ‘Shark Tank’

Oilers will compete for a total cash prize of $4,250 per division

By Hannah Dunbar

The University of Findlay is hosting its own version of “Shark Tank” this spring. Edward Kevin Renshler, Ph.D, dean of the college of business, began working on this event last year.

“During my short time here in August, I quickly learned that the students here are very creative,” said Renshler.

According to Renshler, not only are students creative in the college of business, but they are creative University-wide. Hosting an Innovation Competition was one way Renshler thought all students could have the opportunity to demonstrate and develop their skills.

In the past, Renshler was involved with a similar event at Barton College, but The University of Findlay’s competition will be somewhat different. The event consists of three stages, according to Renshler.

For the first round, individuals or teams will submit a three-page description of their idea. An electronic submission of the registration and proposal form is due by 5 p.m. on Feb. 24 according to the college of business webpage. For round two, students will develop their idea into a business model which is to be submitted by 5 p.m. on March 30. Between round one and round two, several workshops will take place allowing students to develop their ideas fully Renshler said.

“We will bring in experts so students get one-on-one mentoring,” said Renshler.

The third and final round is a presentation for students to showcase their idea to a panel of judges on April 20 at 7 p.m. in Winebrenner main auditorium, according to the college of business web page. The event is free and open to the public.

“We plan to have five external judges from the community who are experts in innovation and entrepreneurship,” Renshler said.

Students are allowed two minutes to pitch their idea and three minutes for a question and answer session. There are three divisions in the competition where students will compete for a total cash prize of $4,250 per division, according to the college of business web page. The categories are called new venture, small business, and community outreach. Renshler hopes this competition will start a discussion about innovation and creativity.

“I think UF embraces innovation, it just never had a platform to do it,” said Renshler.

The dean is teaching an entrepreneurship class this semester where his students discuss ideas regarding new products and present them in class.

“I have 24 students in my class and for each of their projects there are 24 ideas I would have never thought of myself,” said Renshler.

Due to their experiences in life and how they see the world in a different way, they’ve found a problem and are providing a solution, Renshler said. A hope Renshler has is to bring that mind set campus-wide.

Jordan Garcia, double major in marketing and business management, is a student in Renshler’s entrepreneurship class. According to Garcia, the class consists of a lot of informal conversation about how to come up with products and sell them to the professor. This spring will be the first time Garcia has ever entered a competition of this type.

“I am really excited and a little bit nervous — but it should be fun,” said Garcia.

Entering the competition is something Garcia thinks every student should consider. An event like this is the perfect opportunity to present an idea to investors and turn it into a reality, Garcia said. This is the first year UF has ever hosted an inventive competition of this degree.

“Even though I am a senior, I would like to come back to an event like this in the future,” said Garcia.

Garcia wants students who are interested in the competition but unsure about entering to know that there are people who can help.

“Dr. Renshler has told us countless times that if you just go to his office and talk to him, he will help you,” said Garcia. “He has an open-door policy.”

For more information regarding the Innovation Competition please visit: www.findlay.edu/business/innovation2016.

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