Rotary Means Business Shrktank





History Logs

Project Description

Country: USA

Location: Mesa, AZ

Total Budget: $5,000

Area of Focus: Community economic development

Activity Type: Community Development: General

Summary: 'Rotary Shark Tank' in coordination with Arizona State University J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute--Helping to Turn Our Local Student's Ideas into a Viable Business Venture


The basis for the Mesa West Rotary "Shark Tank" is similar to the multi-Emmy winning Shark Tank show that helps entrepreneurs with business ideas launch their products to the market. Mesa West Rotary "Shark Tank" will have a panel of five evaluators from our Mesa West Rotary Club acting as "investors" called "sharks," who will decide which of the three to four pitch presenting and invited entrepreneurs will win the coveted Rotary Shark Tank award.

The award will support the business through the purchase of tools, equipment, material or inventory needed by the company in order to advance their company idea as they bring their idea or product to market. The non-monetary "equipment" award will be up to $5000.00 equivalent to one/two of the three or four entrepreneurial companies making the "best" pitch. Each pitch will be assessed based on a decision and evaluation rubric supplied by Arizona State University with our Rotary Club's final input.

We have spoken with Arizona State University in Mesa and they have agreed (with Rotary's participation) to select the final three or four student companies to make the pitches. Our intent is to hold the "Rotary Shark Tank" social in October 2024.

The entrepreneur team will essentially make business presentations on their company or product along with a ask. The panel of "Rotary Sharks" will pose questions, make observations based on the entrepreneur's product, business model or valuation of their company. After all presentations are finished, the panel will select one or two entrepreneurs to "fund" with their needed equipment, tools or materials.

The intent of our Rotary Grant is to help launch ingenious business ideas so that these young professionals can be successful in their ventures. The hope is that many people's lives will be better off - because they dared to enter the unpredictable waters of our Rotary "Shark Tank."

Each pitch will last approximately 30 minutes and "the drama of pitch meeting and the interaction between the entrepreneurs and our Mesa West Rotarians" will be quite rewarding to all. Club members not on the evaluation panel will act as the "audience." The pitch will be around 30 minutes by each entrepreneur team of up to four pitches per our session.

Our other Rotary club members will be invited to observe the presentation as if they were the studio audience. Prior to and after all the pitches are completed, the Rotarians and all of the Entrepreneurial businesses will have a social to meet in person with our club Rotarians. This interaction and discussion of the entrepreneur's idea may also result in what we are referring to as the Shark Tank effect. Simply by appearing in front of our Rotary Club even without getting selected as the awardee will have the potential to significantly boost awareness and possibly sales for the entrepreneurial companies portrayed. This effect caused by the media and those observing the Shark Tank is referred to as the "Shark Tank Effect."

In summary, Mesa West Rotary Club will hold a social evening for our club members at the clubs expense and will host a "Rotary Shark Tank," where our club and our five member panel will listen to the entrepreneur's pitches and select one or two awardees at the end of the night based on their set of evaluation criterion.

At the end of the pitches all Rotarians present will have a social opportunity and an opportunity for the entrepreneurs through a meet and greet to discuss their company, ambitions and future. Who knows, a Rotarian from the club might like to work with the team to help them come to market more quickly via mentoring or otherwise.

It should be noted that Arizona State University will be partnering with Rotary on this and that they will provide training for the "Judges", supply a draft Rubric for judging, provide access to their software for the entrepreneur applications, provide food in kind, coordinate the "Run of Show," supply the space for the evening at no cost, advertise the project, craft a joint media release and assist our Mesa West Rotary with the evening audio and visual requirements.

In the end, this project should be fun for all and provide a direct benefit to our community. It is also in direct alignment with our District Governor's Theme "Rotary Means Business."

Project Contact Person

District: 5495

Rotary Club of: Mesa West

Primary Contact: Gerry Paulus

Email: gpaulus@asu.edu

Project Status

Fully Pledged
This project is "Fully Pledged". This means the amount of the pledges is equal to the total budget of the project. Now the project needs to be finalized and go through the club signature process. This process gets started on the administration page.

Project listed for the 2024-25 Rotary Year.

Proposed Financing

Existing Contributions Towards This Project





Mesa West (5495)









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History Log Entries


by Gerry Paulus

System Entry: Creation of project page.

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