Swimming with the Sharks helps support Siouxland entrepreneurs

Local News

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Siouxland entrepreneurs are putting their business plans to the test. For the 11th time, Briar Cliff hosted the Swimming with the Shark’s Competition.

Siouxland entrepreneurs are taking a deep dive into their start-up business plans.

“We got to submit in multiple stages and get feedback, so it was a great opportunity for me to network with people and get advice about my business,” said Nicki Werner, founder of
Jefferson Beer Supply.

Werner is a brewmaster. She was awarded the grand prize of $2,500. She plans to sink all the funds into her new business endeavor.

“It takes a lot of money and resources to get it started, it can really be a driver for economic activity in our small town, so we’re really excited to use this capital to purchase our canning line and just get out rolling and to open this summer,” said Werner.

This year’s event was held in uncharted waters due to the pandemic.

“We had our swimming with the shark’s event on Zoom, which went really well. It was the first time we did it, and it was really exciting for us to see it working so well,” said Jonas Reinke, a student leader for Swimming with the Sharks.

The five finalists were thrown another curveball. Instead of presenting their business pitches through a PowerPoint, they had to create a short video.

“I think also the judges liked the idea of videos that they had videos to submit and they could look at the videos beforehand and also the contestants had more time to do the video, so the business pitch had a higher quality,” said Reinke.

“This was really helpful in helping me understand how to explain what we are doing to the public at large and make beer relatable and how big of an impact beer can have on our community,” said Werner.

Three of the four finalists received $1,000 and the fourth received $300. Briar Cliff says they plan to hold the event next year with the hopes of returning to an in-person format.

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