Fused Machine

Undergrads Display Entrepreneurial Chops in Civil War Shark Tank

The UO vs OSU Civil War Shark Tank competition shares similarities with ABC’s Shark Tank, however it has a different impact on its audience. Instead of watching strangers who are typically older, not college-age individuals, in this contest the competitors are my peers. I know the hard work they’ve put into bringing their ideas to fruition and watching them compete in this event makes me want to push my own boundaries too. One of the most distinctive things about this undergrad event is that students get direct feedback, both criticism and praise, from professionals within a range of business industries. This year marked the third annual event for the friendly competition between the two rival schools, and the first time OSU has been the host. During this year’s event, OSU added an elevator pitch free-for-all competition. Adding this mini event provided all attendees—including me—with the opportunity to use their creativity and brainstorming power.

Some contestants have never even pitched before, and have accelerated their idea in a matter of weeks to be showcased in this event. Students have entered industries that I wouldn’t have thought possible at our age. Last year it was health care and this year it was pay-per-click budgeting. At Shark Tank I get to witness students like me put their best foot forward and be courageous. The innovations that students come up with are inspiring not just in nature, but in the efforts that their creators have put into the product or service. Orchid Health, the winner of last year’s competition, has since won numerous other funding opportunities and have had their primary care clinic running for almost a year now.

Entrepreneurship requires immense creativity and tenacity, qualities that are applicable beyond just the business world, which is why I am so drawn to it. Entrepreneurs and the innovation they bring are needed in all industries. While there is an element of competition, it’s a very positive atmosphere. Students and professionals get to connect and share ideas. The main competition also gives the participants invaluable feedback in order to allow them to further improve and flourish, and for some, capital investment to help them get business going. I look forward to continuing this tradition between the University of Oregon and Oregon State entrepreneurship programs, and next year we will be back on Duck turf.

—Katie Breeden ’17 

About Katie: I am the current president of the UO Entrepreneurship Club and loving every minute of it. I plan to graduate in spring 2017 with a double major in business (with a concentration in marketing) and digital arts. If I have time, I’ll also pick up a product design minor. Creativity and design are two of my biggest passions. Aside from the Entrepreneurship Club I am a member of the Business Honors Program, Kappa Alpha Theta, and work with the Lundquist College of Business Job Shadow Program. One day I hope to own my own marketing and design company located somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

Katie Breeden is president of the college’s Entrepreneurship Club.

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.