Taking a spin on the hit TV show “Shark Tank”, Finlandia University held its inaugural FinnU Shark Day on Wednesday, March 9 with more than 60 high school students from L’anse, Baraga Area and Calumet in attendance. Students competed for the chance to win a $2,500 scholarship in the first event of its type on Finlandia’s campus.
After arriving shortly after 9 a.m., the schools gathered in the Hirvonen Hall Auditorium, located in Finlandia’s newly renovated College of Health Sciences building, for an opening presentation where the theme of the day was announced, health and wellness.
“Coming back from COVID, health and wellness seemed like a really good choice,” Associate Director of Admissions Jason Dart said. “We’re in the Hirvonen College of Health Sciences right now here at Finlandia University, so that also seemed like kind of a perfect theme choice for today.”
Throughout the morning, students worked in teams of three to four members, and “Mini-Sharks”, such as International School of Business Dean Kevin Manninen, worked with groups to promote critical thinking through basic marketing principles. After a morning of pitches, the students were greeted in the Hirvonen Gymnasium with a catered lunch by Houghton’s Baby E’s BBQ. Three groups, representing one from each school, were chosen to advance to the final round and delivered their pitches to a panel of judges consisting of local business owners and community members.
The second runner-up was a group from Baraga Area High School pitching a clever device to assist in one of the essential activities of daily living, dressing. The first runner-up was Calumet High School with an imaginative health-minded slipper invention. Keegan Cummings, a junior from the Calumet team, was enthusiastic about the experience albeit a first runner-up award.
“It was awesome. I would definitely come back to one of these.”
The inaugural FinnU Shark Day competition was won by a group from L’Anse after pitching a waistband to hold insulin pumps. The group was awarded a $2,500 scholarship to attend FinnU in the Fall of 2022 or 2023.
Daniel Yoder, Senior Business Consultant Michigan Small Business Development Center
Jeff Ratcliffe, Executive Director Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance
Jason Mack, VP of Business Development at MTEC SmartZone
Denise Vandeville, FinnU’s Assistant ISAD Dean, Associate Professor and VP for Academic Affairs & Assessment
Shana Porteen, Owner of Black Ice Comics & Books