Welcome to the Dog Pound: ‘Shark Tank’ style competition brings in big crowds and offers bigger prizes

Ioannis Pashakis, Editor-In-Chief

     Participants flocked to Bloomsburg University’s first annual Husky Dog Pound. A daylong event that promised $50,000 in prizes to participants who could pitch the best ideas to a panel of judges.

     On Tuesday, BU students from all four colleges, along with alumni and high school students from across the state, participated in the Ziegler College of Business event. The Husky Dog Pound, based off of the hit ABC show “Shark Tank,” was created in order to both award creative entrepreneurship as well as give students the opportunity to learn more about starting a business whether they are business majors or not.

     “Everything that is happening today is moving toward a need for our students to be able to think quickly and think strategically,” said Dean of Zeigler College of Business, Jeffrey Krug. “20 to 30 years ago it was about trying to develop a specialty knowledge and applying that to a specialty job in a large organization, but today you have students going out and creating their own businesses. Even music and art majors are creating new positions for themselves.”

     The competition among BU students was broken into four categories: Business, liberal arts, science and technology and education. “Everybody at this University has a different interest but they are going to go out and make a living with it somehow. So I said lets open this up to the entire university,” said Krug.

     The competition began with a video submission segment where BU students submitted video pitches to judges who then invited close to 100 students to Tuesday’s event. The videos were judged by faculty members Christina Force and Steven Welch, who met with students to help refine their ideas before choosing the best 24.

     Throughout the day, the best 24 student teams were thinned down to three. Those last three students gave their pitches one last time to a panel of three alumni.

     At the end of the long day, Nathanial Treichler, a BU student and creator of The Fly Crate, a monthly service that ships trout flies to fishermen, won first place. Treichler has owned and operated the online subscription based business for the past year.

     Along with the BU student portion of the event, alumni and high school students also had their own competitions. High schools from across Pennsylvania were greatly encouraged to attend the competition which offered 30 prizes. In total, 71 high schools attended the event with 400 students, teachers, principals and superintendents making the trip to BU.

     “We really ought to be involving high school students because if they can learn to present their ideas in front of audiences, they will be much better prepared. As we are opening up opportunities to younger students, it gets the BU brand out to a much greater number of young students who might come here,” said Krug.

     According to Dean Krug, the reception was above and beyond what was expected and next year’s dog pound is already well into development. “The reaction was so overwhelming that there is absolutely no question that people want to see this done over and over,” said Krug.

     Next year’s Husky Dog Pound, according to Krug, will include a larger budget and much more preparation time. The Ziegler College of Business plans to include 15 to 20 local businesses in the competition and start early in the fall to help students generate ideas early and to snag alumni interested to be mentors or competitors in the hopes of not just aiding students reach their entrepreneurial goals, but state high schools, BU alumni and the town of Bloomsburg.