CM students hold their own ‘Shark Tank’ competition
By JOHN RISHEL
MILL HALL — Students at Central Mountain High School developed concepts for new products, presenting their business ideas to a panel of judges in the A156 Business Wing of the high school in a competition similar to the ABC television show “Shark Tank.”
On the this reality show from executive producer Mark Burnett, budding entrepreneurs get the chance to bring their dreams to fruition. They present their ideas to the “sharks in the tank” — five titans of industry who made their own dreams a reality and turned their ideas into lucrative empires. The contestants try to convince any one of the sharks to invest money in their idea. When more than one of the sharks decide they want a piece of the action, a bidding war can erupt, driving up the price of the investment.
For these students, the judging panel was Timothy Keohane, the director of the Small Business Development Center at Lock Haven University; Amy Wundrack, branch manager at Fulton Bank, and Jessica Bennett, senior loan officer and vice president at More Than A Mortgage, LLC.
Seven sponsors, including Fulton Bank, More Than A Mortgage, M and T Bank, Jersey Shore State Bank, Muncy Bank, the Sons of Italy and the CMHS Business Club raised nearly $1,110 in cash prizes to award the top 10 student -presented product ideas.
And on March 12, the top ranking students move forward to a “Live Plan” event hosted by Keohane, with the ultimate goal of heading to Bloomsburg for a state wide high school competition, where up to 80 teams will contend for a total prize pool of $10,000 given to the top 30 presenters of that competition.
“This is a stepping stone for them to bigger events. Next year, I would like to start in the middle school to add on to this,” said Donna Mayes, a teacher at the high school who put this together.
Mayes mentioned that 2019 is the second year the school has organized this style of competition, and that students from grades 9 through 12 could choose to be involved, but it was not made a requirement for any of them.
In all, 14 product ideas were presented, some by a team of students, some with just one presenter.
Once it was over, the judges went through the excruciating process of ranking some incredible concepts.
At the top of the list, and receiving the $350 first place prize, were students Taryn Kimball and Jessica Piergallini with their “Sticky Stitches.”
The Sticky Stitch is for “when you are in a pinch”, according to Kimball and Piergallini. It’s an adhesive bandage that does not only cover the wound, but has a weaved-in stitch that will adhere to the skin and pull the wound together.
“Other bandage companies are basically selling an expensive piece of tape. This actually acts as stitches, not just covering the wound,” they said in their presentation.
They mentioned that they would like to market their idea to local doctors and hospitals, before eventually going to the drug stores and asking if they would want to sell the products on store shelves.
Second place, with a prize of $225, went to junior Brady Williams and his “Sol Air” concept.
His product, called the PhotO2, intends to use solar power to regulate the temperature inside a single room.
“It collects solar energy through a cone shaped solar panel to maximize the efficiency of the unit. It sits in your window and has an extra battery pack, where it is not going to impact your electric bill,” Williams explained.
The mission is to use the energy of the sun, reverse pollution, and lower cost of the electricity it requires to run home climate systems, he said.
He explained that the PhotO2 would be good for a standard bedroom of the average American house, and would have heating capabilities as well. He would market this product to environmentalists, and “anyone that would want to save electricity”, including landlords, and contractors.
Mayes lauded the presentation skills of Williams, saying “he could sell anything.”
The two other concepts chosen to move on to the “Live Plan” event were Hailey Bloom’s “Sugar and Spice” and Tyler Grimm’s “M-Latch.”
The Sugar and Spice system, according to Bloom, would be an automated kitchen appliance that stores kitchen spices and all dry ingredients.
An electronic station, this system would feature a touch screen and the capability to measure out precise exact measurements at the push of a button.
It would be made out of recycled plastic and would feature solar powdered energy with plug compatibility,” she explained. “It could come in a variety of sizes. It allows for faster prep times and clean up times. Sometimes you just cannot find your measuring cups. It would be very versatile for all industries.”
Bloom said she hopes to develop a website and then sell the product to companies such as Amazon, WalMart, K-Mart, and put it in catalogs so the restaurant industry could see.
Grimm’s “M-Latch” is a plastic mount that allows consumers to mount their cell phones or mobile devices to their computer to allow dual screen access.
It would be compatible with all devices, and the panel would be adjustable to change volume, distance and more.
The mount would be injection molded, and then marketed to Staples, WalMart, and to customers directly over online sales and Etsy, he said.
Other cash prize winners included Hailey Fravel and Rachel Crust, for their all-natural toothpaste and gum concept called “Toothpie”, Vincent Kopysciansky for a “Modular Backpack System”, Rose Mellott for a “Tech Charge” concept, Julie and Lauren Harris for a “Flex Find” concept, Preston Evey for a “Christmas Coil” concept, and Donovan Page for the “I-Scooper” Roomba attachment.
The next event will take place at the Durrwachter Alumni Conference Center on the Lock Haven University campus, with a table of judges and seating behind it for people to watch the presentations, Keohane explained. The students will have access to a handheld microphone and a big screen for PowerPoint presentations.