Spark Tank is a biannual event that Siena College hosts that puts student ideas to the real-world test. Based off the popular ABC show Spark Tank, Shark Tank allows Saints to share their entrepreneurship ideas in a competition against their peers. The event is hosted by Siena’s David ‘73 and Christine Spicer ‘75 Stack Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
For this year’s event, Siena College welcomed Mark Grant ’03, Chuck Rancourt, and Jerry Shaye to the stage as the judges.
Mark Grant ’03 graduated as a history major and moved on to become the Vice President of Valuation & Advisory Group, CBRE, Inc., an organization of valuation professionals serving the fixed asset inventory and fixed asset valuation needs of the public sector.
Chuck Rancourt graduated from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1970 as a management major, continuing his education there to get his MS in Management. He is the former Assistant Director of the Stack Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a volunteer mentor for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Jerry Shaye was an economics major at Dartmouth College, graduating in 1964 and receiving his MBA in Public Accounting from Columbia Business School. Shaye has held positions as President of Shaye Global, Executive in Residence for the Sage Colleges, Adjunct Professor of Clarkson University Capital Region Campus, Adjunct Professor for SUNY Albany, and Advisory Committee Member of Innovate518.
To be successful in Spark Tank, you must be prepared with the basic information needed to start your business. “You must know market size, market opportunity, [the] problem you are solving, target customer characteristics, financial sustainability, distribution channels, and other areas,” said Joshua Daly ’19, this year’s Spark Tank winner.
Siena College would like to congratulate this year’s top three winners: Nick Darling and Christian Zownir (3rd place - $200), Sureet Pabbi (2nd place - $300), and the first place winner Joshua Daly, who received $500. The ideas that each winner brought to Spark Tank are as follows:
3rd Place - Nick Darling and Christian Zownir - Taurus Ready Heater
The Taurus Ready Heater defrosts and warms up a car without having to start the car itself. The product functions as an alternative to heating up your car with gasoline.
2nd Place - Sureet Pabbi - Amar Atta
Amar Atta is a 100% gluten free chappati flour designed to provide a new and healthier alternative to flour in Indian cuisine.
1st Place – Joshua Daly – Bug Flusher
The Bug Flusher is a pest management solution which promotes sustainable agriculture. The idea is to develop a device designed to trap Japanese beetles and feed them to free-range chickens. The device will provide chickens with a good source of daily protein while eliminating the harmful effects that Japanese beetles have on the environment.
“I have recently become more interested in agriculture, and have been doing some research on sustainability,” said Daly. “Through videos and minimal research I discovered that Japanese beetles are a nuisance and problem in many areas across the United States, including upstate New York. I also discovered that chickens have been used for tick management by many American households… I am going to use the money to pay for incorporation and patent fees. Some of the money may go towards developing a minimal viable product which is essentially a less functional prototype.”
Students from all majors are encouraged to join the Stack Center team and make their ideas a reality. With the help of Daniel Robeson, Ph.D., Stack Center director, and Megan McCormack, assistant director, Stack Center students are able to take the next step towards becoming successful entrepreneurs.
“Spark Tank has helped me get closer to my dream of owning my own business," said Daly. “I am very thankful for all of the support I have received from Siena.”