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Reaching a Tipping Point – TU’s Student Business Startups Gain Momentum

On Wednesday March 30, students enrolled in the Tiffin Innovation Program (TIP) met for their weekly collaboration session with TU faculty program liaison Ron Lonzo, Vice President for Strategic Innovation, as well as President Schumacher and a top-notch group of industry consultants. With the much-anticipated Demo Day fast-approaching on April 27, these young entrepreneurs are at a critical stage in their journeys, as they will soon have to convince a panel of real-world potential investors, or “sharks,” that their business models are worth sinking teeth (or funding) into. They’ve done their homework – come up with manufacturing costs, researched target markets and designed brand logos. Now, the time has come to practice their spiels in the hopes of making business plans a reality. In a true “Shark Tank” television-style battle royal, Demo Day will only yield one winning team, and said group will be awarded the startup funds for their business and permitted to continue working with their industry mentors after the program concludes. In short, the stakes are high and the pressure is officially on!

“Now is the time to practice, practice and then practice some more,” said Ron. “You want these pitches to be effortless. The more you run through them, the more comfortable you’ll be if any curveballs are thrown at you. Also, think about the next-steps for your business after your demos. Did you win or secure an outside investor? Great, what do you plan to do with those resources? On the flip-side, what if you don’t walk away with anything? Do you have a contingency plan in place?”

That night, each team of students was given the opportunity to rehearse their 10-minute persuasive speeches in front of President Schumacher and Daniel Jameel, a primary advisor for the program. Jameel is a member of the Tiffin University Board of Trustees and the Founder / President of Ready Education, a leading student engagement platform serving over 350 colleges and universities in North America. Both Jameel and President Schumacher gave each of the groups a rating on a scale of 1-5 and offered personalized feedback regarding areas needing improvement.

The names of the student-run business startups are as follows – “Zeit Tech,” “Connected by Ink,” “DragonMart,” “CryptoInvest,” “Nomanclature” and “iPromei.” What are their platforms, you may ask? You’ll have to attend the Demo Day event and find out for yourself!

To learn more about the Tiffin Innovation Program, feel free to read the first blog in this series at tiffin.edu/news/tip-begins/