LIMA — A local version of ABC’s reality TV show “Shark Tank” is coming to Lima.
Organized by the Independent Small Business Coalition and scheduled for Feb. 21, the event will showcase the work of six Lima entrepreneurs looking to make their business plan a reality.
In addition, the event will also host Tom Burden, a Celina native and Air Force veteran, who has launched the Columbus-based startup Grypmat and received write-ups in Forbes and Time for the company’s meteoric success.
Burden’s own 2017 appearance on “Shark Tank” helped him secure $360,000 and had Richard Branson, Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner fighting over company equity.
As for “Lima’s Shark Tank,” four local judges will review the business pitches of local entrepreneurs who have attended a series of seminars hosted by ISBC. The shark tank event is the culmination of those seminars.
Through the pitch battle, entrepreneurs gain points for their plans, which qualify them for a number of low-interest thousand dollar loans provided through the Potts Entrepreneur Center and the Superior Foundation, Inc.
Jerome O’Neal, founder of the Potts Entrepreneur Center, said he formed the ISBC to support the work of the entrepreneur center by gaining the support of the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce, the Rhodes Small Business Development Center, the Co-working Center at The Meeting Place and the Potts Entrepreneur Center. The goal of the newly-formed organization is to “bring business startup products and services” to Lima and surrounding municipalities.
In the future, O’Neal said more shark tank productions are in works, including a “Young Shark Tank” presentation involving local talent from regional colleges and high schools.
“We hope that the community will … continue to support local small business and entrepreneurs that make up the heart of the greater Lima region’s economic prosperity,” O’Neal said in a press release. “These small businesses and entrepreneurs need your support and in doing so, the real winner is the greater Lima region.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.