CougarTank, Now a Course Requirement, Returns to CUC


Julian Perez

The final round of CougarTank will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 20.

Rafael Gonzalez, Jr.

After over two months of organizing and planning, six teams will compete in the final round of CougarTank tonight for first place bragging rights — and a cash prize.

The first-place winner earns $500, second place receives $200, and third place receives $100. The CougarTank winners will receive an individual check.

After several successful years since the first CougarTank competition in 2018, the 2022 event was cancelled after organizers only received one student entry.

“What we decided to do this year is run it through courses,” said Rachel Ferguson, Ph.D., the assistant dean of the College of Business. “Students putting the time into it can earn course credit.”

Students who take Professor Elisabeth Dellegrazie’s Consumer Behavior or Global Marketing courses are required to develop an idea and enter it in CougarTank. Students who are not a part of Dellegrazie’s marketing class could also enter the competition through an application process.

Students in Concordia Entrepreneur Group (now called the Concordia Business Group) created Cougar Tank in 2018, modeling the competition after the reality TV show “Shark Tank” that launched on the ABC network summer 2009 and is currently in its 14th season. In each episode, entrepreneurs present a business idea to a panel of five investors (the “sharks”) who decide whether to invest in those ideas.

After student teams submit their business proposals, CougarTank proceeds through three rounds of judging. Judges included former participant of CougarTank and current head cross country coach Malachi Allgood. The first round consists of a flip-chart presentation, where each team demonstrated their business ideas in front a group of judges on February 21. Round two was a slideshow presentation to another group of judges that took place March 20.

The final round closely approximates an episode of “Shark Tank.” Students present a fully fleshed out idea in front of a live audience to a panel of judges, who then get 10 minutes to ask questions to the team. The winners are announced at the end of the event.

Whether she wins or loses, Paulina Gonzalez feels like participating in CougarTank helped her to better grasp how entrepreneurship and investment work in practice.

“It’s suitable for students to experience and apply what they have learned in class, and it is also materializing ideas and concepts, turning them into something tangible,” Gonzalez said. “I think it is an excellent way to show understanding of the business world and make sure you enjoy what you do.”

Lora Haupt hopes that her team’s company will help combat social and environmental issues in Brazil.

“Challenges that we have faced are how we are going to market to tourists and get them to come to the Amazon rainforest to spend their vacation,” says Haupt. “Out of the 6 million tourists who visit, only 2% visit the Amazon.”

This year’s finalists include Colby Campbell, Jessica Cornelio, Haupt and Joris Prospere who created an ecotourism venture in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, called “Bliss.”

Gonzalez and Brooke Sheriff business plan is an athletic apparel company called “Zoomwear,” which revolves around helping women find more universal fitness clothing.

Hannah Norris and Julianna Paulsen created “The Solee: The School for Girls,” as a private school in India to help provide quality education for girls first through eighth grade.

Jessica Cornelio, Lison Deleu, Elise Dubus and Katie Schrems invented an application called “StuRu” which aims to help future graduate students search for future jobs.

Victor Santos, Hugo Frenoy and Gregory Whitehead’s business idea is called “Smart Trains.” While Hugo Frenoy and Makynna Riff’s business plan is titled “Ziwa Safi”

“I was actually very impressed, and I think our judges were impressed with several teams that had actually viable business ideas, some of which solve major social problems both here and other parts in the world,” Ferguson said.

The final round will take place on Thursday, April 20, from 7-9 p.m. in Christopher Center 200. All Concordia students and faculty are welcome to attend.