Shark Tank Competition Returns to RIT Jan. 24

Five teams of RIT students will pitch their ideas for investment dollars




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A. Sue Weisler

The RIT Shark Tank competition will be held at 5 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Center for Student Innovation.

Take a bite out of these Shark Tank proposals by Rochester Institute of Technology students:

  • A project that streamlines the job application process and matches employers and job-seekers
  • A mobile braille translator that helps deaf and visually impaired individuals communicate in the wireless world
  • A lift device that aids in transporting disabled or hospitalized individuals
  • A live mobile Web application that analyzes a patient’s medical history and provides instant background data for attending physicians
  • A non-battery powered “kinetic” beacon used as a GPS tool for intrepid outdoor adventurers

Shark Tank is back—and five teams of RIT students will compete for the opportunity to turn their business start-up dreams into reality. The Albert J. Simone Center for Entrepreneurship is hosting the RIT Shark Tank competition at 5 p.m. Jan. 24 at RIT’s Center for Student Innovation, room 1600. Close to $5,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the contestants by RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business, the sponsor of the event.

“The RIT Shark Tank is a unique program and the point is to encourage good ideas and show our student entrepreneurs the path to commercialization,” says Richard DeMartino, director of the Simone Center. “The judges are business professionals who will decide if the team’s concept is worthy of investment. The winning proposal will receive $2,000 in seed money and access to the RIT Student Business Incubator.”

The proposals are based upon their uniqueness, feasibility and ability to impact people. RIT students Christopher Burton, a junior majoring in management information systems in the Saunders College, and Alexander Bennett, a sophomore in industrial design in RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, believe their “Kinetic Beacon” meets all the necessary criteria.

“It’s an innovative product and a great GPS tool for outdoor adventurers who enjoy mountain climbing, skiing, biking, rafting, hiking or mountain climbing,” Bennett says. “We think it would be an invaluable tool in the national parks—and it could fit right into your backpack.”

Plus the hand-held device is durable, waterproof, lightweight and requires no batteries. “It’s kinetic and the motion starts by waving or shaking it around,” Burton explains. “You could leave this in your car for a couple of years and forget about it—but it would still work when you needed it. You can’t do that with battery-operated devices.”

For more information, go to http://www.rit.edu/research/simonecenter/ or contact Rupa Thind at 585-475-7487.

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A. Sue Weisler

The RIT Shark Tank competition will be held at 5 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Center for Student Innovation.