Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

May Update- UC Course Simulates Shark Tank With Real Investors From City

Monday, May 8, 2017 3:13 PM
The Shark Tank project was conducted as the final assignment of the Essentials of Entrepreneurship (ENTR 2001) course

As part of a course out of the University Of Cincinnati Carl H. Lindner College Of Business, a group of UC students have been able to participate in a special project which had them pitch ideas to real investors and entrepreneurs from around the city and learn valuable skills in the communication and presentation of entrepreneurial ideas.

This project, inspired by the TV program, “Shark Tank,” challenges students to join together in teams, build an original business model, and effectively communicate their ideas, products, services to a panel of experts, investors and entrepreneurs from the local Cincinnati Startup ecosystem.

“I have seen good ideas lose traction because the presenter does not have the ability to effectively communicate their opportunity,” says UC Professor Ronald Meyers, the course’s professor on his reasoning behind conducting the project.  “That is why we have this “Shark Tank” final project, where interdisciplinary teams can present a business model of their own design to these influential “Sharks” from around the city.”

As Professor Meyers argues, while it may be one thing to pitch such an idea to a professor, it is an entirely different thing to pitch to successful entrepreneurs and investors. It is because of this idea that he hopes to create teachable moments through this project experience.

The expert panel judging the final assignment is composed of entrepreneurs, and investors from all points of the city.  Names such as Tim Metzner from Ocean Accelerator, Tony Alexander from The Brandery, Scott Mindrum and Chris Schaber from Queen City Angels, Dick Baker from SCORE, Samuel Frith from CincyTech, and even entrepreneur Neal Hoffmann from Mensch on a Bench who has actually been on the TV show Shark Tank, have provided their professional and ultimately honest perspectives in their judgment of the ideas pitched by the course’s students.

The Shark Tank project was conducted as the final assignment of the Essentials of Entrepreneurship (ENTR 2001) course, an interdisciplinary class which seeks to introduce scholars representing every UC college to the world of entrepreneurship.

As this is often the first and in some cases only business class taken by students from colleges outside of the Lindner College of Business, it works to provide a fully detailed entrepreneurial experience, showcasing it as a viable career path, stoking the entrepreneurial spirit in young scholars and introducing the real-world experiences of the investment seeking process by actively simulating it in the classroom.

“This was a great opportunity to experience what a real world funding pitch is like, and these sharks did not hold back,” says UC scholar Ryan Lieb on his experience taking the course. “UC’s entrepreneurship classes consistently produce real world experiences like this one.”

Lieb’s sentiment seems to be shared by many others, as Professor Meyers notes that many former students of the Essentials of Entrepreneurship course cite the class and its Shark Tank experience as one of the most memorable and eye-opening experiences of their undergraduate careers.