Students in Wilson College Prof. Thomas Armstrong's "Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management" class, as well as students from Penn State Mont Alto Adjunct Prof. Alan Rock's "Small Business Management" course, will pitch their ideas for business startups to a roomful of observers─including a panel of business experts─on Tuesday, Dec. 3. Presentations, which are open to the public and campus community, will be held on the Wilson campus in Laird Hall's Patterson's Board Room from 5 to 8 p.m.

Each student will have no more than three minutes to present their idea to the three-member panel, followed by a two-minute question-and-answer session. At that time, the panel will offer each student feedback on their presentation, minus the financing provided on the television series.

Student business startup ideas range from a Barkbox-style subscription service for owners of pocket pets, designer apparel business for music aficionados and a sports training service for young people to a luxury doggie day camp, a sports club for disabled teenagers and an animal therapy center for people in need.

It was Armstrong's idea to have students pitch their ideas in a low-stakes version of the popular ABC television show Shark Tank, in which financiers─real-life, self-made millionaires and billionaires─listen to and evaluate business startup pitches and then decide whether or not to bankroll the ventures. "This is experiential learning at its best," said Armstrong. "You come up with your idea, you own it and you present it."

Members of the panel who will listen to and evaluate students' business ideas are Kathryn Gratton, SCORE Four-State Chapter Chair; Robin Burtner, Shippensburg University Small Business Development Center interim director; and Malcolm Furman, an analyst with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

Published: November 12, 2019