Clean energy, a mobile app for survey taking and a product that eliminates the everyday “hassle” of making a bed are among the ideas vying to become startup businesses.
Next week, at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Lumpkin Auditorium at USC’s Darla Moore School of Business, six student teams fostering such innovative new ideas will compete for a share of a $50,000 pot that could help them on the way.
But the winning teams first will have to convince a judge’s panel styled after the popular ABC Friday night reality show Shark Tank that their ideas outshine the others in three categories – technology, innovation and social impact.
After a five-minute pitch to the judge’s panel about their idea, each team will then face a buffet of questions from the judges in which they must convince the panel their idea merits money.
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The University of South Carolina’s version of Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran include judges Katie Petersen, Innovation & Networks manager at Ewing Marion Kaufmann Foundation; Frank Dalton, Fulcrum Equity Partners founder; Aaron and Candice Hark, Maxient software company founders; Craig Heyward, Store Holdings founder; and Darin Thomas, Thomas Media Group president and Black Pages USA Inc. founder.
The remaining idea entries include a culture and language immersion service for the legal industry. In the social impact prize category, a suite of social media sites where people of all religions can gather to talk to other site members about their faith is offered, along with a sustainable land management and carbon offset credit company.
Two other teams will compete for a $1,000 prize in a “fan favorite” category this year, the fourth year of the university’s Proving Ground business plan competition.