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Raider Tank Participants Compete for Cash Prizes

March 28, 2013

ALLIANCE, Ohio—Five individuals and one team recently competed for a chance to win one of three cash prizes to help them transform their products, services and inventions from ideas to realities.

The University of Mount Union’s entrepreneurship program held the contest on Tuesday on campus. Based off of the hit ABC show Shark Tank, Raider Tank gave motivated entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their business ideas or products to a panel of judges, fondly known as “sharks.” All of the “sharks” were Mount Union graduates with entrepreneurial backgrounds and included Patrick Olsen ‘07, who runs a financial planning practice and is director of the Canton Northwestern Mutual office; Cynthia Carlin ‘64, former owner of marketing company Carlin Communications LLC; Daniel Luketic ‘08, president of Risk Management Technologies and Steve Matthew, ‘83, an entrepreneur serving as president of two companies.

Following suit with the television show, Raider Tank had five sharks to whom hopefuls could give a quick elevator pitch. Four prizes were awarded with first place receiving $500 toward his product, second place receiving $300 and third place receiving $100. Additionally, a special $500 prize was awarded to the entrepreneur with the best technological concept.

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation sponsored the event and prizes for the event. The technology prize was sponsored by Alliance Ventures and the technology winner was selected by Brad Myers, Chief Executive of TA2. Matt Stinson, director of university advancement and administrative director of entrepreneurship, announced an opportunity for students at the event. “Thanks to Steve Matthew and the Noble Foundation, students will now have the opportunity to get a stipend of up to $5,000 to work on accelerating their idea should they choose to work on it full-time during the summer. Students would spend the summer break under the mentorship of Myers at TA2.

“It was a great evening,” said Michael Kachilla, assistant professor of management at Mount Union and academic director of entrepreneurship. “Students were not required to participate so all the students were working on their own, moving their ideas forward. I was really impressed with their ability to balance schoolwork but also move an idea closer to setting it up as a business.”

Senior Shannon Stewart, a human resources and management major of Bloomdale, OH, presented his idea, the ECCO, first. Calling his product “The next level of social media,” Stewart’s product combines a free Facebook-like webpage with forum-style interaction to produce an online service that can help people learn to manage and market ideas into a “fully operational business.”

Senior computer science major Aaron DeAngelis of Euclid, OH next presented a mobile phone application called Easy A, a tool to help high school students learn physics. The app, which would cost approximately $25, would “revolutionize education” by allowing students to learn a challenging subject through fun and interactive means instead of traditional textbook examples.

Andy Ruffing, a senior exercise science major of Republic, OH presented his website beefjockey.com to the panel. The website allows livestock farmers from across the country to buy and sell bulls, cows, steers and more. Moreover, the auction site helps farmers target others looking to purchase/sell in the specific market of cattle semen and embryos. Ruffing believes the website benefits those in the livestock field because it gives people a way to network with others instead of the same people they meet over and over again at physical cattle auctions.

Sophomore Mitchell Kalning, a human resources and management major of Greensburg, PA, next pitched his idea, Adaptation, to the judges. An apparel company targeted toward fishermen, Adaptation uses photographs taken at water surface-level and prints them on T-shirts and hooded sweatshirts for a camouflage-type look. Although the apparel is mainly created for aesthetics, the shirts can help fishermen blend in with their surroundings when near the water.

Senior marking major Travis Irwin of Sebring, OH and junior marketing major Josh Clemence of Akron, OH presented their company Bumble Media, a digital media service for those needing assistance with video marketing. Pitching the slogan, “Content is King,” the three men involved with Bumble Media film and edit all videos themselves. The amount of film and sound equipment being used, as well as the number of hours put in to a project, determine the price of each video, and the team is happy to provide creative insight or use only a client’s concepts.

The last competitor, senior management major Brandon Mathie of Louisville, OH, presented the iCase, a touch-screen, optic lens that can be placed over an iPhone or Android phone to help near- and far-sighted people better see their device. The case would be priced similarly to other top-of-the-line phone cases and would prevent people with glasses from having to continually take off or put on their eyewear to see the screen clearly.

Third place was a tie, with $100 going to both Ruffing for his website and Mathie for his iCase concept. Second place, $300 was awarded to Irwin and Clemence for their team’s digital media service. Finally, first prize of $500 was awarded to DeAngelis for his mobile application. DeAngelis also won the $500 prize for best technological concept.

Mathie won the first ever Raider Tank hosted at Mount Union and along with Stewart will be the first Mount Union students to graduate with a minor in entrepreneurship this May.

“Brandon and Shannon have paved the way for other Mount Union students looking to become entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs,” Stinson said. “Balancing academics, playing key roles on the national championship football team and spending a lot of hours outside of the classroom working on entrepreneurial ideas was not easy. I have no doubt that both will be hugely successful as they leave Mount Union and become productive members of society.”

Before the winners were announced, last semester’s Raider Tank winner, Andrew Rothermel, a junior management major of Rootstown, OH, presented his idea to the competitors. Rothermel recently won an additional $1,000 at a regional entrepreneurship competition at Kent State University hosted by the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium (EEC) and has multiple investors lined up to help produce his product. The purpose of the EEC is to provide practical experiential and theoretical education to students in Northeast Ohio to prepare them to become entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs; create new ventures and jobs and build wealth for the region.

The EEC was founded to promote both the concept and the reality of entrepreneurship among college students of all disciplines. Beyond imparting the necessary classroom fundamentals, it encourages student exploration of new business concepts. Where feasible, the EEC will facilitate fully developed business planning up to the interface for project funding which leads to actual startup of new enterprises. Mount Union became of member of the EEC in 2013.

For more information or to participate in future Raider Tank competitions, contact Kachilla at kachilma@mountunion.edu or Matt Stinson at stinsomp@mountunion.edu.

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