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The Lookout | July 10, 2020

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Students present ideas at ‘Star Tank’

Students present ideas at ‘Star Tank’
  • On April 14, 2017

By Hannah Anderson
A&E Editor

“Welcome to the shark tank, where entrepreneurs seek an investment to start, grow or save their business,” the narrator of the ABC show “Shark Tank” often says in the opening.

That show is the inspiration for the LCC competition “Star Tank,” a contest where students and alumni present business ideas to a panel of five judges. The winner earns a $1,250 first-place prize.

“Star Tank” took place at LCC’s west campus on Wednesday, April 5. Eight contestants presented five-minute presentations to the judges; then answered questions on the spot afterward.

A wide variety of business plans were proposed, from a board game café to a theater for kids in the foster care system.

Marissa Dahlem, the grand prize winner with an idea for a coffee shop, said she will put the money into savings as she is still developing her “Mugs Café” business plan and degree.

Bill Motz, a professor of marketing at LCC and one of the creators of “Star Tank,” said this event was the best one yet and they keep getting better every year. He mentioned seeing his students compete in this contest is a great experience.

“It’s one thing when you see them in a classroom as students,” Motz said. “But when they put their coats and ties on or their professional apparel and put together their PowerPoints, it’s very reassuring that we’re on the right track as faculty members.”

Dan Hagfors, an adjunct professor at LCC and a panelist in the discussion after the presentations, said he enjoyed the event.

“Obviously, it’s a lot like the ‘Shark Tank’ nationally, but on a local level it allows LCC students to take an idea and pitch that idea for some additional funding,” Hagfors said. “I’d like to see more participation, more ideas and more entrepreneurs.”

Courtney Sorenson, a marketing major who pitched the idea for a wine bar called “Wine Not,” said she thought her presentation went well.

“I think the opportunity is absolutely great because you don’t hear of schools often doing this where there’s a money prize, let alone a community college,” Sorenson said.

The plan was to have cash prizes for the top three contestants. However in the end, the judges made the decision to split the money so that even those outside of third place received cash prizes.

For more information about the American Marketing Association, go to

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