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Shark Tank: Atlanta University Center Edition

by Kristine Santos

Clark Atlanta University’s School of Business hosts an annual conference known as LEAD Week focused on professional and leadership development. LEAD Week has an extensive history of helping and inspiring students with topics ranging from marketing to branding to the entertainment sphere. This year is particularly notable because it is the 20th anniversary of LEAD Week.

In honor of this momentous occasion, this upcoming LEAD Week will feature its first Shark Tank event to help encourage entrepreneurship among students at CAU and surrounding universities. Olufemi Ajayi, an MBA student driven by his passion for inspiring people to go after their ideas, is organizing LEAD Week and spearheading the Shark Tank event.

Shark Tank: Atlanta University Center (AUC) Edition is focused on giving students the opportunity to enhance their business ideas and connect with other entrepreneurs at different campuses and within Atlanta as a whole. As an entrepreneurial ecosystem, Atlanta’s biggest strength is our community. Shark Tank: AUC Edition is a way for students to have a guided introduction to Atlanta entrepreneurship and is a great way for the community at large to see what innovations are coming out of the AUC.

Shark Tank: AUC Edition is open to all AUC students, with application videos due January 16 and the larger LEAD Week event taking place February 17.

What’s the story behind Shark Tank: AUC Edition?
This is our 20th year of Lead Week and we want to make this a special Lead Week, so this is the first year we’re having a Shark Tank event to get the students more involved and put them in a more entrepreneurial mindset.

I really love the show and why not have a competition at the school? A lot of students have innovative ideas, so how could they get their ideas out without having to go through the actual Shark Tank process? The motivation behind it is giving everyone an opportunity to promote their ideas. Not everybody has the opportunity to apply for the real Shark Tank, but they can get involved in our event.

What are you most looking forward to with the Shark Tank: AUC Edition?
I’m looking forward to the different ideas that will come out of this event and any opportunities presented to the participants to take their ideas to the next level. I’m excited to be part of the startup process and helping people get to the next point in their careers and businesses.

What’s been your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge has been promoting the event through different outlets and getting it out to the students. We want to ensure that the different campuses (Spelman, Morehouse, Clark Atlanta) hear about and are able to get involved. Getting in front of the students is our biggest challenge and we’re working with professors to really get the information to the students.

What your vision for Shark Tank: AUC Edition?
We want great ideas being presented and the students to take away potential investors, mentors, and advisors who will help take their businesses to the next level. We want everyone to leave with the knowledge and resources to get to the nest step after this event.

Continuing reading this piece on pear-a-digms, a thought leadership blog focused on cultivating a culture of connected productivity entrepreneurs, students, business professionals, business owners, and everyone in between. 

The Author: Kristine Santos. Entrepreneur. Anthropologist. Writer. Runs social media and blogging for Atlanta-based startup PEAR’d, a virtual collaboration ecosystem for entrepreneurs. A vegetarian who’s learning how to sew and wants to know all about your startup. Let’s talk on Twitter@PEARdUP

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