RIT’s Shark Tank Runs Its First Episode on May 5

Student entrepreneurs have to convince investors their new businesses are worthwhile

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A. Sue Weisler

RIT Center for Student Innovation

Rochester Institute of Technology student entrepreneurs who have a marketing plan to launch their own businesses or products into household names have the opportunity to make their dreams come true.

RIT’s Shark Tank, sponsored by RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business, debuts from 5 to 7 p.m. May 5 in RIT’s Center for Student Innovation, room 1600.

Fifteen teams will have three-minutes each to make an “elevator pitch.” They must convince Rochester-area investors to part with some hard-earned advice and give a thumbs-up to students’ business ideas—ranging from products and software programs to online Web businesses. Winners will receive $2,000 worth in cash prizes from RIT.

“The money from RIT is to encourage students to go forward and the investors are there to mentor them on where they should take their concepts to get future investments,” says Richard DeMartino, director of RIT’s Albert J. Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The Shark panelists are: Bal Dixit, founder of Newtex; Kevin Halpin, vice president at Delta Point Capital Management; Emerson Fullwood, retired corporate vice president of Xerox Corporation; Bill Thompson, serial entrepreneur; Brian McLaughlin, senior vice president and lending center director at ESL Federal Credit Union; and Deb Labudde, managing general partner at Envoi Ventures.

“This is the first test case with Shark Tank and of course the prizes will get larger and the investors will get more serious as we advance,” DeMartino explains. “The point is to encourage good ideas and show our student entrepreneurs the path to commercialization.”

For information contact Rupa Thind at 585-475-7487, or visit http://simonecenter.rit.edu/.