WILMINGTON — Wilmington College’s Amanda Holbrook walked away after Thursday night’s third annual Quaker Tank competition with $5,000 in her pocket earmarked to grow her business.
The three judges — known as Sharks — were unanimous in each presenting Holbrook $1,500 in support of Country Girl’s Graphics & Gifts, an existing business the sophomore agriculture major from New Richmond co-owns with her mother. Also, the audience voted another $500 for Holbrook’s enterprise.
Some $5,000 in prize money was available to five finalists in the College’s “Quaker Tank”, a competition for emerging entrepreneurs based on ABC TV’s popular “Shark Tank.”
WC’s student contestants shared their business plans and two-year financials with the judges and pitched their overall business concepts in three-minute presentations followed by judges’ questions — some as pointed as shark’s teeth.
Sharks were Brad Heys, owner of Kava Haus; Sarah Pennington, assistant vice president of Lebanon Citizens National Bank; and Kerry Steed, owner of Generations Pizzeria.
Country Girl’s Graphics & Gifts produces silkscreened T-shirts, caps and other apparel, but it was Holbrook’s talent at producing creative designs that especially caught the eye of the judges.
Heys cited Holbrook’s apparent “great products, focused vision and wonderful work ethic while Steed was ready to hire her to create designs for his business.
Runners-up in the competition were Logan M. Hayes, a senior sport management major from Piqua, who pitched his business, Sports Quake, which represents college athletes in associating their names, images and likenesses with commercial services and products and other promotions for profit. This is now legal in the collegiate sports world.
Also, Natalie L. Sparling, a junior from Hebron, Ky., majoring in sport management and business administration, shared her ideas for Sparling Sunglasses, the marketing and production of prescription sunglasses with removable temple pieces.
Lucy E. Enge, a senior frm Cincinnati majoring in political science and religion & philosophy, promoted Golden Light Organic Farm, a not-for-profit farm incubator designed to make small-scale agriculture more sustainable and accessible to interested practitioners.
Grant M. Mihalock, a senior from Geneva majoring in business administration, pitched his fledgling business, One Percent Basketball, an endeavor — now in its third year — in which he trains athletes ranging in age from second grade to college. One Percent refers to the goal of getting better by one percent each day both on the basketball court and off.
Steed said each of the contestants gained from the experience by having the courage to “take that first step” in becoming an entrepreneur. Heys added that mistakes and failures are components of becoming successful. “If you’re not a winner today, don’t give up on your dreams.”
“Quaker Tank” was presented with sponsorship from Lebanon Citizens National Bank as the Presenting Sponsor while Alpha & Omega Building Services and First Financial Bank were Gold Level sponsors and First State Bank, Merchants National Bank, Peoples Bank and Tin Cap Cider were Bronze Level sponsors in putting up the prize money. Generations Pizzeria provided food at the event.