Printing idea takes Judson’s Shark Tank prize
John Ashworth knows that it’s either sink or swim when you’re competing in Judson University’s Shark Tank.
To win was unreal at first.
“It was somewhat expected, but I didn’t fully realize it at the moment,” Ashworth said. “I didn’t fully realize what I won, as it will help with college fees. But, in general, it’s something I expected. I knew the competition.”
He was one of five students who competed on Nov. 17 during the third Shark Tank to allow entrepreneurial-minded individuals to pitch ideas for new products and services. His idea was dubbed Custom Cubes and combines a website and a 3-D printer.
“It’s a new platform that allows the consumer to use the services of a 3-D printer,” he said. “3-D printers are expensive and not always available to the public.”
Prospective customers who want to upload an image for a company logo will have it converted into a 3-D printable to be used on ice cubes, chocolates, plaster busts or other edible substances, he said.
Judson business department chair Michelle Kilbourne said Ashworth serves as a prime example of the type of students the university looks to cultivate both inside and outside the classroom.
“John participated in the shark tank event last year and he failed,” she said. “However, he took feedback, modified, learned to present ideas in an innovative way.”
It’s what her department strives to teach, Kilbourne said.
“To truly start a business, you have to both evolve your idea as well as your own leadership abilities so that you can grown an organization to sustain the idea,” she said. “That’s where I think we’re different from other pitch events. Their focus is on the evolution of the idea. Where I believe we’re different is we work with our students. We help them develop not only the ideas, but also their own leadership. Judson’s mission to shape people that shape the world.”
“Entrepreneurial efforts have been importance since we kicked off the World Leaders Forum,” she said. “It has been in place for five years. The person who sponsored the World Leaders Forum did so with the hope that money raised would support entrepreneurial efforts.”
Kilbourne said entrepreneurial thinking requires that you approach a problem in a different way, and that’s what happened when student Ethan Adams, suggested the university stage a Shark Tank event.
“The students really appeared to enjoy that,” she said. “We offered another six months later,” and it’s grown from there.
“We have increased attendance every year,” she said, with the event aiming for a simple goal.
“Our future vision is that this idea doesn’t stay in the business department,” she said. “We’re hoping this becomes a cross-cultural initiative and outreach to the community. Great entrepreneurial thinking can happen across disciplines.”