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December, 2013

Floating their ideas

Students try out business plans in Shark Tank

Gateway students were invited to jump into the Shark Tank on the Racine Campus on Nov. 20. The event allowed students to present an idea, invention or product to a group of judges. Gateway’s version of the Shark Tank was similar to the TV show.

Ideas presented to the judges included a plan for manufacturing and selling olive oil and also a computer service that teaches the elderly how to learn new and ever-changing technology.

Jeff Clay took second place out of the nine entrants with his idea for a power source for power tools … when they run out of power. The winner was Beth Tyykila for her innovative way to support autistic children, an idea that her and her sister-in-law came up with two years ago.

“In this service, we would purchase a home and add sensory rooms,” Tyykila explained. “The sensory rooms would give autistic children a way to communicate with their families in a way they can understand.”

The Shark Tank was open to all Gateway students and participants needed to pre-register, which allowed time for them to receive free one-on-one business coaching prior to the event. The event was facilitated by Gateway’s BIZ Squad, along with Kate Walker, WEDD business services director; Sue LaCanne, Graphic Communications instructor; and Greg Herker, Fab Lab program coordinator.

“I wanted to be a part of this to get information, especially legal information, so I can implement the idea,” said Tyykila.

Last year was the first year for Gateway’s Shark Tank event and it was spread out over several days. Walker said this year’s event was better because it was condensed into a one-day, four-hour format, which included guest speakers, presentations and an awards ceremony.

Walker hopes to bring the event back again next year.