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POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE – Union County College Hosts “Business Shark” Competition

The Business Shark Competition has been postponed at this time. Additional information information will be posted here as soon as it is available.

The Office of College Life is pleased to invite Union students to participate in Union County College’s inaugural Business Shark Competition. The purpose of the competition is to encourage students to showcase their exciting and innovative business ideas. Students can compete on their own or as a team. Students will submit their business pitch that showcases the value of their idea and their presentation skills to support the concept at businessshark@ucc.edu. At the end of the competition, three winners will be selected to receive the following: Grand Prize $500, Second Prize $250 and Third Prize $150.

Interested students will submit an initial application that will be reviewed by a panel of faculty and staff, 25 semifinalists will be invited to present their business idea in front of a panel of internal judges. From the 25 students in the semi-final round, six students will be selected and invited to compete in the final round where they will be evaluated by external judges. The six finalists will be mentored and coached by business faculty members prior to the final round. For more information on the rules and guidelines, please see the criteria below.

Download and Complete the Business Shark Application

  • Eligibility to participate:

    Open to all Union students interested in presenting a business idea/proposal. Students can compete on their own or as a team. What should an interested student or team do to enter the competition?  Please submit the application by March 23, 2020.

    The Business Shark Competition will be held in three parts:

  • Part 1 (Semifinalist Competition Round):
    Semifinalist Competition Round (April 6, 2020)

    Location: Room N4 (Cranford Campus)

    Time: 3:00 p.m.

    • A student or a team should submit a proposal/application on or before March 23, 2020. If you are part of a team, only one member from the team should submit the application.
    • All completed applications should be sent to: businessshark@ucc.edu
    • The application can include a three-minute video where the student(s) give an elevator pitch on their idea/proposal. The video presentation must be included with the initial application.
    • Qualifying applications will be judged on three criteria: innovative idea, proof of a market, and demonstration of competitive advantage.
    • The committee will review all submissions. The top 25 candidates will be selected to advance to the semi-final round and present their business idea/proposal in the Executive Education Center at the Cranford campus on April 16, 2020 at 3:00p.m. Each semifinalist will have only three minutes to present their idea.
    • After this first round of competition, the judges will invite by e-mail up to six finalists to compete in the final round on April 16, 2020, at 4pm in the Executive Education Center at the Cranford campus.
  • Part 2 (Access to a Business Shark Coach):

    Access to a Business Shark Coach

    • All six finalists will be assigned to a Business Shark Coach by email prior to the final round (Week of April 6-10, 2020) to help prepare them for their final pitch on April 16, 2020.
    • The Business Shark Coach will provide advice on marketing, strategy, and competitive advantage, along with information that would be beneficial in finalizing their business idea/pitch and presentation for the final round of competition.
  • Part 3 (Final Competition Round):
    Final Competition Round (April 16, 2020)
    Location: Executive Education Center (Cranford Campus)

    Time: 4:00 -6:00 p.m.

    Winners will be awarded
  • Final Competition Round Rules
    • Final round presentations have a strict time limit of five minutes. A timer will notify the presenter or team that the time has expired.
    • Visual aids are allowed in the final round.
    • After the five-minute presentation, judges will have five to seven minutes to ask questions which may include a clarification or justification to a part of the presentation.
  • Judging Guidelines:

    Both the initial application/pitch and final presentations will be judged on four criteria:

    1. Innovative Idea: Since the Business Shark focuses on developing new business ideas, the core concept/idea will be extremely important. A compelling new idea with excellent potential will be seriously considered.
    2. Proof of Market: Each pitch should identify a profitable group of people with a unique need that the idea/proposal would address. Some of the best products or services fail as businesses if nobody wants to buy them.
    3. Demonstration of Competitive Advantage: Once the market is identified, and if it is truly feasible, business competition should already exist. Each pitch should acknowledge the competition and expand upon how their product is different and better than the competition. If there are no other competitors, your pitch will need to explain why the market is empty and how your product is a good innovation and will have the competitive edge.
    4. Response to Questions: Each final presentation is followed by a five to seven-minute question and answer session by the judges. How well the finalists respond to the judges’ questions will be considered in the scoring.
    5. Three winners will be chosen in the final round: Grand Prize $500, Second Prize $250 and Third Prize $150.
  • Questions:
    For further clarification on any of these rules, please email your questions to: businessshark@ucc.edu