Fort Lewis College students and recent alumni tried to sell the judges on diamond infused hair products, dehydrated food and recycled paint during a “Shark Tank”-style business competition.
The Hawk Tank competition, now in its second year, drew 25 teams who competed for cash to invest in their businesses.
The competition is open to all majors and aims to jump-start businesses in the community, Professor Michael Valdez said.
Twelve teams presented their businesses in front of a panel of expert judges during the second round Saturday morning.
Two brothers, Daniel and Michael Martin, sold the judges on a plan to resell paint online, placing first in the competition.
Their paint is recycled and produced by a company that employs those with disabilities and they plan to resell it to a worldwide company that does apartment restoration.
“We will max out our production and learn to grow with them,” Daniel Martin said.
They also plan to reach individuals through their online sales.
The two won $5,000 to put into their business, Nitrum Dynamic Paint.
Stacey Tabb pitched the judges on dehydrated meals for adventurers who backpack, bike or boat. She took home second place and $2,500.
Tabb’s company, Locally in the Woods, plans to dehydrate organic, locally sourced foods in a solar food dehydrator.
“Any meal you can think of, we can make it into a dehydrated meal,” she said.
She expects to sell her product at farmers markets and branch out to supplying retail stores.
Eventually, she would like to branch out into spice kits and bags designed to keep bears away from food.
Iain Morrison’s sparkling black hair demonstrated how eye-catching his products would be if funded.
His company, ZXI Style, would infuse hair products like gel and conditioner with cosmetic diamond powder. His idea earned third place and $1,000.
The formula for his products would likely be produced by a third party company, but ZXI would hold the rights.
He expects the products would appeal to young, single people with high disposable income, because an 8-ounce bottle of hair gel would likely be priced at $75.
“We are really only going after a small niche market,” he said.
The wedding and prom market would also be a good fit for his product, he said.
His company would likely require $50,000 or $75,000 to get off the ground, but he told the judges the prize money would allow him to continue researching his plans and speak with a patent lawyer.
The two student-led teams that earned honorable mentions were Agra-Cycle and Healing Hand, a handmade soap company.
Agra-Cycle wants to recycle drywall to make agricultural lime, which helps fix the pH in the soil. It’s an idea that University of Wisconsin, Madison, proved, but has not been done on the industrial level, Connor Cafferty said.
Contractors would pay Agra-Cycle a small fee for collecting the drywall from construction sites and then the company would grind the drywall and apply it to the fields.
In the alumni-lead team category, a bread-based idea impressed the judges.
Bunz Bakery, the vision of Brook Perry and Emily Dell, plans to grind wheat berries to make nutritious breads. The two took home $5,000 to start the company.