This year's Swimming with the Sharks contestants, pictured, won a combined $4,000 after pitching their business ideas during the annual entrepreneurship contest at Briar Cliff University.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Local entrepreneurs were awarded $4,000 after pitching their business ideas in the 2017 “Swimming with the Sharks” contest, held Feb. 23 at Briar Cliff University. Winners of the competition, modeled after the television show “Shark Tank,” included:
- 1st place, Sara Gotch, $1,950 for “Gnarly Pepper,” a powder that mixes with Greek Yogurt to make healthy dips and spreads.
- 2nd place, Ryan Allen & Meghan Nelson, $950 for “Lumin Therapy,” which provides local yoga-based outreach and community workshops.
- 3rd place, Aaron Breyer, $500 for “Accel App,” an online platform to cultivate a realistic experience for the future generations of sports.
- 3rd place, Alex Fuller, $500 for “Auto Promotive,” technology that allows everyday people to use their vehicles as driving billboards for products.
- 3rd place, Sam Hummel, $500 for “The Knak,” an app-based platform that connects manufacturers with makers of specialized, customized and handmade goods.
The contestants had five minutes to present their business ideas to a panel of local business experts; and five minutes to answer questions from the panel.
Judges included Dave Bernstein, co-owner of State Steel and co-founder of Saturday in the Park; Dustin Pratt, an analyst with Avalon Capital, member of the North Sioux City economic development board and founder of Solid Rock Clothing, LLC; David Gleiser, director, Woodbury County Rural Economic Development; Rhonda Capron, Sioux City Council and representing Sioux City Economic Development; Sam Wagner, of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce and Siouxland Initiative; and Ken Beekley, executive vice president, Siouxland Economic Development Corporation and prize money contributor.
The competition was part of Entrepalooza 2017, a 10-day celebration involving events focused on entrepreneurial spirit in Siouxland. The event is coordinatored by Briar Cliff’s award-winning Enactus team.