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Ready, set, pitch: Fall 2022 Shark Tank Competition set for November 10

The fall 2022 Shark Tank pitching competition will take place in the Rutgers Business School building on the Livingston campus.  – Photo by ru_business / Instagram

On November 10, the fall 2022 Shark Tank pitching competition will take place, during which teams will pitch a business proposal before a board of judges who will then evaluate them on their research and performance.

Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society (RES) and Rutgers Collegiate DECA are partnering with the Venture Capital Club, TAMID Group, Rutgers Business School Blockchain Hub and the Road to Silicon V/alley Program to host the event. 

“One thing I realized two semesters ago, before we started this event, is that there is no real formative student-led competition that allows students from all types of backgrounds to really participate in an actual startup-like, entrepreneurial competition,” said Ibrahim Nazir, a School of Engineering senior and president of Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society.

The event simulates the format of its namesake ABC TV show, allowing students participants to give a 5- to 7-minute pitch about their own business idea, he said.

During this event, approximately 25 teams will compete, and winners will receive a $25 gift card per person and the opportunity to present to actual investors at the Rutgers Innovation & Startup Expedition (RISE), Nazir said.

“To be able to go from ... a basic pitch deck concept to then be able to talk to investors, gain valuable business acumen, various equity from these judges and be able to actually grow a startup, that’s really a beautiful process and to be able to facilitate that has been just a great opportunity,” he said.

Nazir said teams should invest in customer discovery, or being able to understand the problems their businesses aim to solve.

He said past competitors, like GenUnion, have engaged with their target audiences and demonstrated that connection during their pitches.

Additionally, teams being able to collaborate and draw upon each other’s strengths will aid in producing an exceptional product, Nazir said.

Aditya Palekar, a School of Business senior and co-president of Rutgers Collegiate DECA, said the competition, which originated one year ago, requires much planning.

For the competition, the host organizations must reserve four team rooms and the lounge in the Rutgers Business School, he said. Teams will check in at the lounge and will then move to their specific team room to present.

Staffing the event are 16 to 20 judges, two check-in staffers and four moderators who help move teams in and out of rooms, Palekar said.

To market the event, Palekar said the host organizations have been coordinating to offer monetary prizes and advertise via flyers.

Additionally, he said he hopes to fine-tune next semester’s competition by asking all participants to fill out a post-event survey with their feedback.

Past winners of the competition are characterized by their attention to detail, demonstrated practice and notable uniqueness, Palekar said.

“One thing we should take notice of is that every company does exist today. It's pretty much about how you are differentiating yourself from those companies or those ideas, and that's what some of the winners and best ideas have,” he said.

One past winner of the Shark Tank pitching competition is Rachel Thompson, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior who worked with a teammate to create Tracker, a bus tracking system.

The program allowed grade school students to find their school bus and their parents to see whether their children made it to school safely, she said.

As a non-business major, Thompson said she was originally afraid of competing in the business-oriented event, but she found the competition hosted a range of students with different majors.

“I think that if I had one takeaway, it is that anyone can do this competition,” she said. “This can be an interdisciplinary approach that anyone can compete in if you have the right group.”

Thompson said she will not be competing with her partner in this semester's event, but they are considering participating in the spring 2023 Shark Tank pitching competition. She said she is still excited to attend the event as a spectator and witness other teams’ innovative ideas.

“I think the way that DECA and RES are growing the Shark Tank competition is actually really great,” Thompson said. “It's gaining a lot of traction, and it's something that I hope goes very far at Rutgers and becomes a more prominent thing that everyone can compete in.”


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