It was a feeding frenzy at Brighton High School Wednesday as students delivered their best elevator pitches to a panel of venture capitalists at a mock “Shark Tank” competition.
The contest was modeled after a popular TV show where entrepreneurs compete to convince potential investors to invest in their start-ups. It was sponsored by the city of Cottonwood Heights and area businesses that donated prizes and provided volunteers to serve on the judging panels.
Students in business, marketing and IT broke into teams and were given only a few hours to come up with a marketable product or service and then craft a business plan and investor pitch, which they delivered and defended in rounds of judging.
The judges tested students with pointed questions and offered advice on how to refine their ideas or avoid common pitfalls. They were so impressed by the finalists — including a DoubleWave microwave that heats and cools food, and LifeLite, an amber hued lamp to combat the insomnia-causing blue light of handheld computers — that they encouraged them to pursue commercialization. “I love products that are simple and that are 'set it and forget it.' I think a Kickstarter campaign would do well and that people would probably contribute,” said business attorney attorney Stephen Walker commenting on LifeLite.
This was Brighton’s pilot year with the business competition which CTE coordinator Denise Hodges hopes to repeat. “It’s such a great way for students to test their skills, to benefit from the expertise of our local business leaders, and to learn from one another,” she said.