The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program and School of Management continue to inspire and fund Clark University entrepreneurs through Clark Tank events in many creative ways. Three of the four Clark Tank 2023 events have concluded with impressive students showcasing and pitching their ventures. The fourth event, Clark Tank Crowdfunding, is coming up in late April.
Clark Tank Donors
Clark Tank has emerged as the premier venture funding event on campus due to the generous funding donation of Clark alumni Samantha Goodman (’11) and her father Michael Goodman. Their continued involvement and insight have spearheaded the unprecedented growth of Clark Tank in the last three years.
Samantha was first attracted to the entrepreneurship program when she fell upon the student-run website and was impressed by the student ventures and social awareness of Clark entrepreneurs. Samantha was looking to give back to Clark University and what she saw on the website aligned with her interest in social issue education and her venture Swing Issues Media. Swing Issues Media’s mission is to engage and inform our audience on the major issues affecting not only our country but the world – what we call Swing Issues. We believe that an informed population is best served to make good decisions to carry our country, and the world, into the future. All of our content aims to be factually accurate and to work as a starting point for our audience to further engage in the topics we discuss here. Hopefully, it will serve as the launching pad for future learning and active citizenship.
The substantial growth of Clark Tank and the increased quality of student ventures have inspired other alumni to donate funding awards in identified categories. Generous alumni donors Debra Harrsch (’80) CEO of Brandwidth Solutions earmarked $1000 to start the first Clark Tank Marketing Pitch Competition; Christina Bai (MS ’12) philanthropist, entrepreneur, and investor provided two additional Community Impact awards of $500 in Venture Development; and Ryan Cohen (MBA ’18) a serial entrepreneur in the cannabis industry added two $100 awards to the Business Pitch Competition.
Clark Tank Committee 2023
Kicking off the Clark Tank 2023 season, the Clark Tank Committee 2023, comprising three returning faculty/staff members and two new additions, started by reviewing Clark Tank Venture Development applications back in October of 2023. This is the fifth year for member Teresa Quinn, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program Manager, and the fourth year for Jennifer Plante (’00), Associate Dean of Academic Success, and Julie Bolduc, Director of Student Employment. Added to the committee each year are Clark alumni and Clark Tank alumni and current students. This year Jose Castro (’22) Bilingual Program Coordinator, EforAll Greater Worcester, and Sujhan Ghimire (’23), and Clark Tank alumni (’20) filled those roles with great insight and expertise.
An important order of business for the committee was to start the search for the Clark Tank 2023 logo. The yearly logo design contest resulted in the winning logo by Erica Cai (’26). Erica was honored as the designer at the Clark Tank Venture Development finals.
The committee reviewed 30 student venture applications for consideration for Clark Tank Venture Development in October 2023. Of the 30 submitted applications, 26 students with 22 ventures were chosen by the Clark Tank 2023 Committee to move forward in the competition.
Due to its popularity, the Venture Development event is the only Clark Tank event that requires an application process, however, this is a relatively new process. The interested student groups have substantially grown since 2018 with only one identified participant. With the continued awareness and growth of Clark Tank, the committee sees an application process in the future for additional events.
Clark Tank Venture Development
The 26 students accepted to Clark Tank Venture Development enrolled in a class during the fall 2022 semester that covered topics from business development, finance, marketing, legal, sales, and of course, pitching. Alumni guests Guy Pistone (’15), Crysta Spitzfaden (’19), and Debra Harrsch (’80) stopped by class to share start-up insight or gave workshops on pitching and marketing. The students also chose a mentor to help them throughout the process. The required course is not for the faint of heart and truly tests the student’s commitment to the rigors of entrepreneurship and running a venture. No shame is levied on the student that decides next year might be a better time to compete, however, all students receive full course credit for finishing the class.
After completion of the class, 18 student ventures accepted the challenge and moved forward to the semifinals. After hours of mentorship and practice the semifinalists presented their eight-minute pitch to the committee on February 10 for passage to the finals. Although all participants made tremendous progress in their own right, it was only the top 12 that moved forward to the finals to pitch to a distinguished judging panel of alumni and community partners.
Finals were on February 24 in Tilton Hall starting at 9:00am with participant tabling, and pitches at 10:15am. Each student was allowed 15 minutes to pitch their venture and field questions from the judges. The judges got down to business after the pitches concluded and deliberated to award funding. Winners were announced at 4:00pm in front of a packed house of participants, family, friends, and guests. For the third year in a row, the event was live-streamed with over 155 viewers tuning in throughout the day. A recording can be found on the student-run website www.clarkstudentventures.com.
- Christina Bai (’12), philanthropist, entrepreneur, and investor
- Brad McNamara (’13), CEO & founder of Morrissey Market & Freight Farms
- Debra Harrsch (’80), CEO of Brandwidth Solutions LLC
- Thomas Mueller (’22, MBA ’23), and Clark Tank alumni (’19)
- Briana Azier (’05), Owner of Bri’s Sweet Treats
- Clarissa Ko (’25), Clark Entrepreneurship Club judge and Clark Tank alumni (’22)
- Miguelina Peralta-Bobrick Executive Director of EforAll Greater Worcester
Pictured: Brianna Azier, Debra Harrsch, Miguelina Peralta-Bobrick, Clarissa Ko, Christina Bai, Thomas Mueller, Brad McNamara
Winners and Finalists:
- 1st place $3000 Moses Millman (’24) & Henry Reyes (’24), Millman Management
- 2nd place $2000 Max Schweitzer (’22, MA ’23), Schweitzer Studios
- 3rd place $1500 Noah Katz (’26), The Umpire Channel
- 4th place $1000 Vijay Yadav (MS ’23,) VJSnapp
- Community Impact (Christina Bai, MS’12) $500 Claire Grant (’24), Dragon Ink
- Community Impact (Christina Bai, MS’12) $500 Jonathan Tamen (’26), Helping Hands
- Clark Entrepreneurship Club award $250 Elena Perez ‘(24) & Liam Tobin (’23) Kindly Anonymous
- Clark Tank Committee award $500 Claire Grant (’24), Dragon Ink
- Finalist Nate Bethancourt SPS, Health Ya’Self Juicing
- Finalist Xio Alvarado (’26), Reflect the Youth
- Finalist Rhya Sinnappen (’23), Rhya’s Crochet Village
- Finalist Sadie Kaim (’24), Sadie’s Sweet Shoppe
- Finalist Nuri Rosen (’23), Beaver Street Bikes
Pictured: Clark Tank Winners, Participants, Judges, and Committee
- Thomas Fluharty, Max Schweitzer
- Aaron Haddock, Elana Perez and Liam Tobin
- Reene King, Sadie Kaim
- Stacie Hargis, Rhya Sinnappen
- Ron Waddle, Moses Millman and Henry Reyes
- Kristen Lamb, Glaire Grant
- Dexter Feliciano and Tim Dzurilla, Jonathan Tamen
- John Dobson, Nate Bethancourt
- Lawrence Norman (’94, MBA ’95) Noah Katz
- Lawrence Norman (’94, MBA ’95) Vijay Yadav
Clark Tank Marketing Pitch Competition
In conjunction with the Venture Development finals, generous donor Debra Harrsch (’80) inspired a new event for Clark Tank called Clark Tank Marketing Pitch Competition which was held the evening before the Venture Development finals on February 23. Eight students from Clark Tank Venture Development branched out and pitched their marketing plan to an alumni judging panel, handpicked by Debra. One participant was chosen as the winner. With Debra’s continued support and direction, the marketing pitch event will become an annual Clark Tank event.
- Wynne Dromey (’25) Colors of the Wynned and Clark Tank Venture Development alumni (’22)
- Tim Hally (’19, MBA ’20) co-founder of Munq LLC and E&I adjunct professor
- Emilee Cocuzzo (’18, MBA ’19) Senior Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and E&I adjunct professor
- $1000 Max Schweitzer (’22, MA ’23), Schweitzer Studios
Pictured: Max Schweitzer, Judges Tim Hally, Emilee Cocuzzo, Wynne Dromey, and donor Debra Harrsch
Clark Tank Business Pitch Competition
Redesigned for 2023, Emilee Cocuzzo (’18, MBA ’19) took the Clark Tank Business Pitch Competition to a new level with a deep dive into venture capital and angel investor pitching. The Business Pitch Competition encourages students to think about long-term strategic business planning, scaling, and pitching to wow potential VCs and angel investors. Emilee implemented a related class to mentor the students with entrepreneur guest speakers and VC leaders, which included Andrew Stern, Connor Schoen, Alex Turgeon (‘16, MBA ‘17), and Greg Montemurro, culminating in final pitches to a distinguished panel of judges on February 27, in ASEC 202 starting at 9:00am.
- Katie Cella (‘07 ), President at Bixal
- Ryan Cohen (MBA ‘18), founder of Top Shelf Cannaseurs (TSC) and KindRun Delivery
- Brad Kern (P ‘25), Operating Partner at Andreessen Horowitz
- Rick Treitman (‘73), Entrepreneur in Residence at Adobe
- Greg Montemurro, DCU FinTech Innovation Center Operations Coordinator and founder of Capital Z
Pictured: Judges and Participants
- 1st place $1100 Noah Katz (’26), The Umpire Channel
- 2nd place $250 Wynne Dromey (’25) Colors of the Wynned
- 3rd place $150 John D’Eufemia (’23), Mikey Schiappa (’23), and Dylan Harloff (’23), stayjustintime.com
- Honorable Mention (Ryan Cohen, MBA ’18) $100 Rowan Turner (’26)
- Honorable Mention (Ryan Cohen, MBA ’18) $100 Alec Tarnowski (’23)Top Tier Wrestling
Pictured: Alex Tarnowski, John D’Eufemia, Noah Katz, Wynne Dromey, and Rowan Turner
Special Thanks to the Clark Student Staff and Administration
Thank you to the Clark students and administration for all the help and support with the Clark Tank event series.
Clark Tank Student Staff
- Jack Rogerson (’23) Tech Wizard provided live streaming for Venture Development and Business Pitch
- Naveed Sattar (’23) and Evelyn Ward (’26) Venture Development MCs
- Jasleen Kaur (’26) Marketing Pitch MC and Venture Development event assistance
- Maile Margalous (’25) Business Pitch MC
- Aniket Pandey (’25) website hosting manager
- Henry Reyes (’24) and Moses Millman (’24) Business Pitch video and photography
- Natalie Hoang (’25) Venture Development photography
- Danny Fredette (’26) Venture Development photography
- Jeremiah Adames (’26) Business Pitch event assistance
- Zhixuan Zhao (’23) Venture Development event assistance
- Sadie Kaim (’24), Sadie’s Sweet Shoppe, Venture Development lunch dessert
- Maddie Steigman (’24), Dough is Me, Clark Tank event desserts and treats
Pictured: Evelyn Ward, Naveed Sattar, Jack Rogerson, Jasleen Kaur, Henry Reyes
- Alan Eisner, Dean of the School of Management
- Andrea Aiello, Associate Dean of the School of Management
- Randy Rosenthal, Office of University Advancement
What’s Still to Come for Clark Tank 2023?
Clark Tank Crowdfunding
With a dream of Teresa Quinn and a nudge from Clark Tank donor Micheal Goodman, Clark Tank Crowdfunding is going to end-out the year. Starting March 14, this pilot event will take up to eight Clark student entrepreneurs and their individual ventures through the journey of developing and launching a real crowdfunding campaign to be hosted on one of three crowdfunding platforms – Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or Givebutter. Guest alumni have volunteered to mentor the group. Keep an eye out for the venture launches around mid-April.
Shark Tank Contestant Speaker Max Feber
Max Feber, founder of BRUW and a contestant on Shark Tank season 10 episode 9, will visit Clark University and the E&I Program on March 30. He will share his experience of being on the show, what it took to get on the show, getting a $50,000 deal, working with Mark Cuban, and what he is doing now, in a speaker event at 1:30pm in Jefferson Academic Center 320. Max will also host a pitch workshop at 3:00pm with a mini-Shark Tank contest at the end.
Clark Tank Sponsored – Center for Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Club Hackathon
The E&I Program and the Clark Tank Committee 2023 are excited to support TIE with their hackathon at the end of April. To find out more about the event, please go to www.clarkathon.tech.
Please follow the E&I Program’s social accounts – LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram – to keep up with all Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program’s events and activities as well as our events calendar and student-run website www.clarkstudentventures.com.
If you are interested in getting involved with Clark Tank or the E&I program, please reach out to Teresa Quinn at TQuinn@clarku.edu.
About the Clark University Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program:
The E&I courses are designed to help a student identify problems, ideate solutions to those problems, and implement the best solution to bring about the desired change. Whether your interest is business ownership or social change, Clark University’s E&I minor complements any major to help you gain the full benefit of your educational experience and future goals.
Teresa Quinn, Manager of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program
Meredith Galena, Communications Specialist, School of Management