Shark Tank-style Event with Celebrity Judges to Award $10,000 Scholarship

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (January 11, 2021) – Four Wisconsin teen entrepreneurs will compete for a $10,000 scholarship in a Shark Tank-style competition hosted by Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, sponsored by Ernst & Young on January 28. The first ever Young Entrepreneur Live Competition features a panel of five celebrity judges and will be streamed live from location at Majic Productions in Waukesha. Interested viewers can register to watch the free event live here.

Just like the popular TV show Shark Tank, each student entrepreneur operates their own business and sells a product or service. Finalists will present their business and state their case for earning the scholarship to the judges. The judges will critique their businesses, ask the entrepreneurs questions, and offer constructive feedback.

“Entrepreneurship is one of the core pillars of Junior Achievement,” said Michael Frohna, President of Junior Achievement. “Similar to the classroom and community programming Junior Achievement offers, the Young Entrepreneur Live Competition embodies that entrepreneurial spirit in a new generation of American leaders.”

Celebrity judges include:

  • Craig Culver, Co-Founder, Board Chairman, Brand Ambassador – Culver’s
  • Christine Specht, CEO – Cousins Subs
  • Craig Karmazin, Founder and CEO – Good Karma Brands
  • Denise Thomas, President and Owner – The Effective Communication Coach

Finalists competing in the Young Entrepreneur Live Competition:

  • Jonah Larson, 13, of La Crosse – Jonah’s Hands
  • Carter VanHaren, 17, of Brookfield – American Maker
  • Madison Russell, 17, of Shullsburg – Prime Time Performance
  • Tessa Gehri, 17, of Wonewoc – T. Gehri Caprine Artificial Insemination Services

Among dozens of entries from across the state, four finalists were selected to compete based on the following criteria: Charisma/Hustle, Business Success, Growth Potential, and Social Involvement. Other considerations included the entrepreneur’s age when the business was started, special challenges faced, strategic direction, innovation, personal integrity, and leadership.

In addition to the $10,000 Grand Prize Scholarship, the other three finalists will receive $1,500 scholarships, and one student will receive a $500 cash viewer’s choice award based on live voting during the streaming event. Scholarship money was made possible through event sponsors and donations from generous community leaders and business owners.

Young Entrepreneur Live Competition by sponsorship level:

Founding Sponsors

  • Ernst & Young
  • Johnsonville
  • ManpowerGroup
  • T&M Partners

Viewer’s Choice Award Sponsor

  • Russ Darrow Automotive Group

Crowdfunding Sponsor

  • BMO Harris Bank

Venture Sponsors

  • Paul & Terri Danola
  • Douglas Dynamics
  • FIS
  • Heartland Funds
  • Mason Wells
  • Muth Mirror Systems
  • Patti & Jack McKeithan Northwoods Foundation
  • Rockwell Automation
  • Walbec Group
  • Wintrust

Select a button below to see how you or your organization can get involved with Junior Achievement of Wisconsin.

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