It was a feeding frenzy on the campus of Zane State College in Zanesville as 18 businesses competed for $10,000 during the annual Shark Tub event on March 2.
Jennings’ Java, a coffee business created by Muskingum University sophomore, Daniel Jennings, was one of the three finalists of the night, along with Gone to the Dogs and Cashmere & Twig.
By the end of the night, however, Gone to the Dogs was chosen as the winner of the event and received $7,400. Jennings’ Java and Cashmere & Twig each received $1,300 for finishing in the top three.
Jennings said he and his team learned a lot from their experience in the Shark Tub.
“Even though it’s not the result we wanted, we still gained valuable assets from this,” said Jennings. “We had two training sessions so we learned a lot on how to give formal presentations as we just did.”
The event also gave Jennings some good lessons when presenting to an audience.
“Never be intimidated to do things outside of your comfort zone,” said Jennings. “I’m not a public speaker, but you get up there and you can just kind of relax, and if you know your facts, you can never overprepare.”
Jennings said presenting the facts in these types of presentations is one of the most important things for a business.
“You can spend as much time as you want [preparing],” said Jennings, “but you got to know the facts when coming up and making presentations like this.”
In addition to the $1,300, Jennings’ Java received an additional $600 from the panel of judges during the presentation portion of the event. Jennings said the $600 will likely go towards a coffee roaster.
The panel of judges, also known as “sharks,” consisted of some of the biggest names in the Zanesville and Muskingum County area, including Storied Rivals founder, Muskingum alumnus Aaron Spragg, “The Father of Entrepreneurship,” Bill Straker, Karl Saunders, M.D., Zane State College Board of Directors member, Francine Swiger, and American Pride Power Equipment founder Ryan Dodson.
Previous winners of the Shark Tub include Disrupt Media in 2015 and Spragg’s Storied Rivals in 2016.