Ankeny Economic Development Corporation

Ankeny Works

STUDENT SHARK TANK              

Students from four school districts, five colleges and one trade school participated in the Student Shark Tank competition held on Martin Luther King Day. Funded by a Polk County Community Betterment grant, a total of $5,000 was awarded to eight young entrepreneurs and community leaders.  

Business ideas varied from a patented product created in a high school CAD class to a business service to help other businesses. Other ideas included apparel sales and high-tech tracking systems.  

 

Ahmed Musa and Jeremiah Khat pitched Laced Up Family.

The top place community project was Devs Doing Good pitched by Connor Forgarty of Valley High School. Devs Doing Good is a student organization that provides opportunities for students interested in code development to apply their skills for the benefit of a non-profit in need. It is less than a year old but is planning to expand to school districts across the state of Iowa. Other winning community projects included Harvesting For The Arts (H.A.R.T.)to assist students pursuing activities in the arts, providing supplies for teachers and building an outdoor classroom.  

Each pitch was judged on the merit of the idea, return on investment, execution plan and presentation. Area sharks on the judging panel included Kerry Walter-Ashby, Ankeny City Council; Chris Murray president and CEO of Denny Elwell Company; Trent Murphy, owner of CJM Financial and Mike Mertz with Ankeny School District. 

“This is a fun way to connect students with the business community and give them a chance to test out their skills.” said Murray. “We have a lot of young talent. We want to give them an opportunity to shine.” 

Due to COVID-19 safety measures the in-person judging panel was limited. The hybrid meeting model allowed participants to pitch in-person or virtually. This arrangement allowed more to get involved. A total of 18 pitches were made. The in-person portion of the event was hosted by Accumold at their headquarters in Ankeny. 

Awards 

Business Category  

Name 

School 

$1,000 

Business Sitters 

Amber Smith 

Drake University 

$750 

Dog Mom 

Tyler Brown 

Southview Middle School 

$500 

Early Bird 

Bradley Van Heeswyk 

Local 33 Plumber & Pipe Fitters 

$250 

Loco 

Shreyas & Shrestha Shrestha 

Johnston Middle School 

 

 

 

 

Awards 

Community Project Category 

Name 

School 

$1,000 

Devs Doing Good 

Connor Forgarty 

Valley High School 

$750 

H.A.R.T. 

Margaret Cook 

Ankeny High School 

$500 

Teacher Supply 

Megan Rembert 

Southview Middle School 

$250 

Centennial Outdoor Classroom 

Aaron Martin 

Ankeny Centennial High School 

 

 

Megan Rembert of Southview Middle School pitches her idea to Mike Mertz, Chris Murray, Aaron Johnson and Kerry Walter-Ashby (online). 

   

Connor Forgarty pitches Devs Doing Good via Zoom.  

Hear the STAR 102.5 interview with one of last year's winners, London Schuchart.  Image of 2020 Shark Tank Winner, London Schuchart with Executive Director Joey Beech.

 

Rules:

  • To enter you must be between the age of 14 and 24 years old.

  • You must complete the registration form by January 14, 2021. Early registration is strongly encouraged. Those received prior to January 4 will get preferred practice session timing and pitch scheduling.

  • You must be able to present at the January 18 event or make special arrangements with organizers.

  • Timed pitch – 10 minutes to present, 5 minutes for follow-up Q&A.

Judging Criteria:

                Judging is subjective and based on the professional opinion of those judging. Judging categories will include: Idea (Business or Community), Return on Investment, Execution Plan and Presentation. The judging panel is made up of area business professionals and community leaders including some angel investors.     

Awards:                                                                                                                                      

                 Prize money will be distributed by check after all presentations have been made and judges have agreed.  Participants do not have to be present when awards are announced but will be notified. 

Not Sure What to Expect?

                 Don't worry. While this is a serious competition with serious money on the line, we are here to help you succeed. We have a template presentation you can follow. We are also offering office hours where you can get more information and ask questions. Practice pitch sessions are also available for you to test your pitch and get feedback from judges ahead of the competition. Register early to guarantee a practice pitch slot and preferred pitch time. You can also contact us with any questions you have.

Ankeny has an extensive list of innovative employers who have a variety of career opportunities.  View these short videos to learn more.  

Employment, scholarships, internships, and on-the-job training are available at a number of area employers. Contact us to receive more information.

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