By Cassidy Fix/Western Sun news editor
What if you had two minutes to make your dream become a reality? On April 28, the Student Center stage mirrored the television show “Shark Tank,” where entrepreneurs present their ideas to business peoples in hopes they can persuade them to believe in it and put money into it.
Only, this event was much less painful. The Entrepreneurship Society hosted their first ever “Fish Tank” where members and GWC students stood in front of a panel and pitched a business plan or item, presenting their targeting customers and ways to beat out their competitors.
Students created and pitched a clothing line, bamboo binders, bumper stickers, utility night stands, a photography company, foam combat sports, a social organization, organic veggie shakes, an ocean algae stimulator, a marketing company, and even drive-thru Boba business.
Although not receiving funds, the two best pitches took home $100 gift cards to Barnes and Noble. But it was the ocean algae pitch and the utility night stands that stood out to the panelists.
Winner Paul Gallagher of the Ocean Bloom project held a 2 foot model of an ocean screw he created with his 3-D printer to the audience and panel. But this was only a small scale representation of what he really had in mind.
Gallagher is working on an 8 foot machine to create more algae in oceans and remove toxins from the water, after all, he said in his pitch, “70 percent of the world’s oxygen comes from algae.” He had this idea years ago, has been working actively on the project for a month, and will place the machine into the Pacific Ocean and observe the interactions.
Other winners Vin Guarino and Jim Krausen said, “When you get out of bed tonight, I guarantee you’re going to think of us.” The judges fell for their idea of a utility nightstand which conserves space. It has built in speakers, LED lights that motion detect when one gets out of bed, and even USB outlets in their design.
Instead of an all or nothing ordeal like in “Shark Tank” panel members critiqued them on their overall presentation and stage presence, their product or business idea, and strategy on how to beat out other competitors in similar industries.
The panel consisted of four business expertises: President Dean O’Malley of Jetpack America, Orange County’s Associate Director Katrina M. Smith of Small Business Development Center, Founder and Director Besty Densmore of Academies for Social Entrepreneurship, and Golden West’s President John Hops of Community for Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Opportunities, known as CIELO .
Host and Advisor of Entrepreneurship Society Bern Baumgartner explained that he recognizes the importance of students producing and managing their own businesses, saying “If you can figure out a way to take one of your passions in life and make a living out of it, that’s great.” He hopes to have “Fish Tank” every semester.