Shark Tank on November 19 | Judson University Christian College

Judson University to Host Popular “Shark Tank” Virtual Event Supporting Entrepreneurship

Shark Tank Photo

 (ELGIN, Ill. - November 10, 2020) Judson University will again host its annual “Shark Tank” event in support of student entrepreneurship and creativity. The popular student event will be broadcast on Judson’s Facebook Live at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 19. This year due to safety restrictions, a limited number of people will be present in Herrick Chapel to hear the finalists “pitch” their ideas to the judges. The finalists will compete for prizes totaling $1,800, which is divided among the three selected winners and the individual who receives the “audience choice” award by a virtual vote.

Inspired by the reality business pitch series “Shark Tank” on ABC, Judson’s annual event engages the student body and fosters creativity and entrepreneurship for students within all majors. Students prepare a pitch for their own business and deliver their presentation before a panel of judges. These judges are chosen for their leadership in local businesses.

 Out of the 16 students who pitched their ideas through a video presentation on our YouTube channel, five finalists were chosen by voting from students, faculty and staff. These students are Praise-God (P.G.) Nkalang’ango ’23 of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Dimitri Ingrassia ’22 of Aix-en-Provence, France, Eliana Sarver ’22 of Villa Park, Ill., Natalia Szkubel ’21 of Streamwood, Ill., and Nayeli Cisneros ’21 of Elgin, Ill.

These students have worked with business mentors to develop their business plans and learn valuable skills for perfecting their pitch. The competition is part of an ongoing effort in Judson’s Business Department in which faculty and students partner together for experiential learning opportunities. Mentors for this year include Peter Paulson, President at Corporate America Family Credit Union (CAFCU) of Elgin, Ill.; Professor Nate Chang, Professor Tim Carlson, Professor Bill Young, and Professor Walt Scott. The business expertise of these mentors will be a valuable asset to students as they perfect their entrepreneurial ideas and Shark Tank presentations.

Judges for this year’s Shark Tank are Kristin Tews, Co-founder and Chief Business Officer of Noteworthy, and an experienced media entrepreneur; Mike Lee, President and CEO of KCT Credit Union; and Michael Storey, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Beckatt Solutions. Each judge is a leading professional in the business world, and will be able to assess each student’s plan and pitch with a wealth of knowledge and experience behind them.

Kristin Tews brings 25+ years of business, finance and sales management to Noteworthy, a company that will launch in January. She has pioneered several entrepreneurial projects and has received numerous top sales honors for her strategic development of sales staff and teams throughout the Midwest.

Mike Lee is the President and CEO of KCT Credit Union. A seasoned executive, Mike has gained a breadth of experience working at a variety of organizations. He also serves on many volunteer boards as a way to grow his own knowledge and impact in his community.

Michael Storey is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Beckatt Solutions, a leading U.S. distributing company that specializes in additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, and is based in the Chicago area. Michael oversees sales and marketing along with design and print services. He is considered an expert in the world of additive manufacturing and has a passion for innovation.

The prize money for Shark Tank is generously sponsored by Thrivent Financial, a Fortune 500 not-for-profit financial services organization with a local office in Elgin. The virtual event will be emceed by Ashley O’Brien ’21, a senior at Judson University who is studying marketing.

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