JWU student Tim Silva has dreamed of starting his own gourmet, organic food truck business “forever, for years,” he says. Now, as the winner of JWU's Shark Tank Competition, he has $5,000 in start-up support from the university to make it happen.
“I can’t wait to get started here at JWU,” Tim says. "You're going to see my truck out there next year. You’re going to see my restaurant. This is going to be a success.”
Tim, an entrepreneurship major, and eight other student finalists had just 90 seconds to pitch business plan to JWU faculty judges. The students also got career advice from successful JWU alumni entrepreneurs, along with feedback from the judges. “That was great,” says Tim. “It’s real life, from professionals out in the industry.”
Developing Entrepreneurs Early“The goal of Shark Tank,” says John Robitaille, executive in residence at JWU’s Center for Entrepreneurship, “is to transform individuals into entrepreneurs, and assist them in turning their ideas into viable commercial or social enterprises.” Tim will receive $1,500 cash reimbursement for pre-approved start-up expenses from JWU, along with $2,000 in-kind value for business consulting services and $1,500 in-kind value for incubator space at the university.
"It's unbelievable," Tim says. "When I was younger, I wanted to own a Subway. Now I'm building my own restaurant business!"
Watch Tim's business take off on Kickstarter
Student Choice Award Max Zaklow-Leepson, a marketing major, won the Student’s Choice Award for his idea, a digital platform he believes will transform the way emergency responders operate.
“I’m an EMT. This idea is something I really believe in," Max says.
"It’s amazing to get the chance to do this. I have no idea where I’d be without JWU.”