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Shark Tank/CoLab competition encourages entrepreneurial spirit across all academic departments

A Shark-Tank-inspired competition at Walla Walla University, called Shark Tank/CoLab, has been developed to give student entrepreneurs the opportunity to put their creative and innovative minds together in an attempt to win a cash prize.

The event is being hosted by the WWU School of Business, Department of Technology, Department of Computer Science, and School of Engineering, with the main goal of bringing together students from different areas of study to collaborate on entrepreneurial type projects such as business start-ups and product inventions.  

The panel of judges for the competition will be comprised of successful entrepreneurs and WWU faculty who will be judging based on innovation, originality, and creativity. The winners of the competition will receive a $10,000 cash prize; semi-finalists will receive $100 prizes.

Patience Taruwinga, dean of the School of Business, said, “Yes, there is prize money up to $10,000, however, this is not all about the money. In this fast-paced, globally connected world, it is important to have an entrepreneurial spirit. With it, our students will succeed in life. This event is about encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit in all of our students.”

Students interested in competing in the event met in October to discuss and be informed about the rules and requirements of the competition.

While $10,000 can be a strong motivator, students are competing in Shark Tank/CoLab for other reasons as well. “This competition has provided me with a great opportunity to work on a project outside of school, while also allowing me to further improve upon my marketing skills and grow my network,” said Kalli Creitz, senior business major. Sophie Bailey, senior graphic design major, said, “I am doing this competition because I think that my team has the skills and talent to go far and impress the judges.”

Noah Dybdahl, senior product design and business double major, said, “I have been waiting until after I graduate to pursue a business idea, but then I realized that I have the resources and the network of people around me to start right now. I also have the freedom to do my own thing for this competition, and opportunities like this are too good to pass up.”

There will be an upcoming Shark Tank/CoLab networking event on Jan. 22 from 7 to 8 p.m. at Chan Shun Pavilion, room 154. Then on March 5, the Shark Tank/CoLab semi-finals will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m., also in Chan Shun Pavilion, room 154. The final competition will be held on April 20. 

Posted Dec. 3, 2018

Picture of a lightbulb which signifies invention, creativity and simply a good idea.