Can You Survive the Snow College Shark Tank?

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Gemma Griffiths presenting her idea at the awards ceremony. Photo by Cheyenne Davis

Gemma Griffiths presenting her idea at the awards ceremony. Photo by Cheyenne Davis

2013 Snow College Opportunity Quest- where budding entrepreneurs present their business plans to a panel of judges and hope that all the work they have done will pay off.

Opportunity Quest is a statewide competition sponsored by Zion’s Bank that all colleges and universities (both public and private) participate in. This is Snow College’s fourth year participating under the supervision of Stacey McIff.

Before any work was done, all students who entered participated in a workshop with Alan Christiansen. After the workshop, the creativity began.

For Snow College, there were 28 entries, which is the most there has ever been, and it was narrowed down to five. The process began with all competitors submitting an executive summary, which the first panel of judges read. Next, the shark tank.

For those of you who haven’t seen the TV show, Shark Tank, a shark tank is a meeting with a panel of judges to pitch a business idea. If the entire panel (which is different from the first set of judges) likes the pitch, in the case of the Opportunity Quest, the entrepreneur moves on to the final round.

There were five final ideas: Moody T-shirts, Praxis Makes Perfect, The Vidalia, Scripture Shields, and Electronic Music Stands.

Moody T-shirts is a small business that was started by Sergio Arellano. The main goal of this business is to provide creative space for people to convey meaningful messages through clothes. After studying trends in social media, Sergio decided that advertising would be done by mouth, Facebook and Twitter only.

Praxis Makes Perfect is the brain child of Eugene Sheely, and it focuses on using games/simulations in business and military settings to help train employees or soldiers on many things. For example, in order to get through some parts of the game, the user has to know how to use Excel.

Zach Parker presents his idea at the awards ceremony. Photo by Cheyenne Davis

Zach Parker presents his idea at the awards ceremony. Photo by Cheyenne Davis

Skyler Anderson and Zach Parker were co-creators in the company The Vidalia (The Right Place). Their goal is to meet the need on availabity of reception halls all across the state of Utah that has the ability to host weddings, luncheons, business conferences, etc. As far as advertising is concerned, they plan on covering everything from expos to billboards, and social media like Facebook and Pinterest.

Caleb Swallow knows from experience that scriptures get pretty beat up, especially when used by young children and LDS missionaries. When he realized the need, he came up with Scripture Shields. They, are basically old VHS boxes that are personalized and used to carry scriptures (the example used was a Book of Mormon) in hopes of protecting them from the elements as well as wear and tear. He plans on starting it as a family business and then eventually selling it to Deseret Book Company so that even more people have access.

Gemma Griffiths is a music major who knows that carrying around sheet music is a real hassle. Her idea is to take music stands and make them electronic. By doing that, a musician is able to download music onto a flash drive, save it to iCloud, and take it everywhere. Other advantages of the Electronic Music Stand is that transposing music takes less time, and a conductor has the ability to highlight a certain set of measures that he wants the entire orchestra to work on.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Opportunity Quest. And to the five finalists, good job. Placement in the competition was as follows: fifth place – Eugene Sheely; fourth place – Sergio Arellano; third place – Caleb Swallow; second place – Skyler Anderson and Zach Parker. First place went to Gemma Griffiths, a freshman music major from Zimbabwe. She plans to continue with her project and said, “Fingers crossed it works.”

Snow College students participate in the Opportunity Quest, a state-wide competition for budding entrepreneurs

Snow College students participate in the Opportunity Quest, a state-wide competition for budding entrepreneurs. Photo by Cheyenne Davis

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