SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – A group of entrepreneurs is one step closer to making their business plans a reality.
The finalists for Swimming with the Sharks, a local entrepreneurial competition, showcasing their pitches to a group of judges.
The contest has been an annual tradition for over 10 years in Sioux City, providing funds to help five new small business plans reach their full potential.
“Get connected with the local community of business owners in town and its a great opportunity to get some money that can help the company, ” said Samuel Padilla, a top finalist.
Padilla is presenting his start-up business, Steve Mentor.
“We help international students through this program, solely online with video content, we have weekly calls and personal mentors for the students,” said Padilla.
He participated in Swimming with the Sharks last year but wasn’t able to win the cash prize. So this year, he’s back but with some big changes.
“Right now, we’re a lot farther down the line. We actually have sales, we actually have customers, and now we’re looking for funds to scale and keep growing,” said Padilla.
“We have no clue where these businesses are going to go, we just hope to help them,” said Todd Rausch, Sioux City Small Business Development Center.
The five judges gave their feedback on the finalist’s presentations. Participants have one week left until the final showcase.
“This is how you presented, this is what we think you should do to improve your chances of winning and also encouragement ‘Hey, your idea is really good,'” said Rausch.
The winner will be awarded up to $4,000 and will help kick start their business plan.
“Hopefully hire some people, hire some interns to help us throughout the whole process, if we actually close some deals with colleges that are the main focus we would use the money for,” said Padilla.
The finalists still have one more opportunity to improve their pitch this week February 13 at Ice Cream Drinks and Biz Tales at P’s in LeMars.
Then, the final event taking place on February 18 at Briar Cliff University.