“Shark Tank” Type Competition Has Entrepreneurs Vying for Money

DULUTH, Minn — There are people all over the world with all types of business ideas that never make it to the table.

But on Tuesday night 5 people from northeastern Minnesota had 5 minutes each to convince a panel of judges that their business idea was worthy of an investment.

This was the third time The Rink Pitch Competition has taken place in the northeastern part of the state. Amanda Lamppa the project manager for IEDC and a member of the Innovate 218 team says, “We’re just here in good fun listening to really great new business ideas and giving some honest feedback and hopefully giving them some money to start off.”

The company’s products varied a great deal:

Northern Man Craft a company creating custom hats for outdoor groups;
Independent Vascular Educators that uses existing technology in emergency rooms to better insert IVs;
Perfect Temp Caddie with a better way to measure the temperature of your ingredients when cooking;-
Lichen Labs LLCĀ  has a way to use microbes to help clean small to mid-size oils spills on the water; and
Francisco Hockey that uses dummies to teach youngsters how to avoid concussions when playing hockey.

Five business leaders from the area served as judges for the event. The group determined the $5,000 first place winner is Francisco Hockey.

Second place winner was Independent Vascular Educators and received three thousand dollars. The third-place company was chosen by the audience who were on-hand, and they chose Northern Man Craft.

John Francisco knows what he will use the $5,000. He will build a new prototype for his dummies.

“I’m able to partner with UMD through the mechanical and electrical engineering departments to get these prototypes made as a senior project with the UMD Students.”

Innovate 218, has now held three of these pitch competitions and has plans to hold another perhaps in Grand Rapids in May.

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