Swim with the Sharks event promotes entrepreneurship

Swim with the Sharks event invited students to pitch their business related concepts


Photo by Evelyn Nelson

Business presenters from the D8 Venture app team give their pitch to the Swim with the Sharks judges panel and community audience.

“Our sharks are friendly and the water is warm” was the slogan for the annual Swim with the Sharks entrepreneur event on the UW-Eau Claire campus.

According to Swim with the Sharks, the event took place at 6 p.m. in The Cabin at Davies on Nov. 11.

The event was publicized as a place for students across campus to pitch their business related concepts and compete for prizes.

At its core, Swim with the Sharks gives students a chance to foster their ideas, whether it be fully developed or something small, Mary Cait McManamon, the collegiate entrepreneurs organization vice president, said.

“It has the outcome of giving students exposure and a chance to practice what it would be like to pitch a business idea to investors,” McManamon said. “It is also a great chance for them to gain feedback for their ideas.”

Swim with the Sharks hosted two teams who presented their business ideas. LifeFly promoted agricultural-based teaching on how to help farmers with soil and crop health. D8 Venture provided local outings for couples to spice up their dating life.

Jacey Teal, a fourth-year graphic communications student, said the event held great conversations between the judges and community members who attended. Their guidance will help her business grow even faster.

“(My team) got really great questions towards things in our business plan. We have already discussed them and turned around our business just from the feedback we got that night,” Teal said.

The night hosted judges Adam and Jess Gardner, Diane Wolfe and Brad Poquette who all support or run local businesses in the Eau Claire area.

McManamon said she pushes students on campus to explore the possibilities entrepreneurship can have. She believes that events like this should be for anyone who has an idea to share.

“One awesome thing about entrepreneurship is that you do not have to be directly related to management or marketing. Anyone can start a business and this event was open to all,” McManamon said.

The event was sponsored by Startup Eau Claire Week and presented by the local Royal Credit Union of Eau Claire. The company will also hold several other business related activities throughout the week.

Teal said anyone who may be interested in starting their own business to check out what programs are available on campus and within Eau Claire.

“It is really beneficial for people to know how to run a business and implement those ideas you have,” Teal said. “I was surprised that I got so much out of something that I was not even planning on.”

For more information on the events hosted through Eau Claire Startup Week, contact Mary Cait McManamon at [email protected].

Nelson can be reached at [email protected].