Professional Development
Competitions / Events / Pitches / Resources / Small businesses

Swim with the Sharks announces 2021’s judges as the application deadline nears

The annual Emerging Enterprise Center pitch competition offers a prize package of cash funding and resources for a young Delaware business.

Adam Stager, founder of TRIC Robotics, presents at Swim with the Sharks 2020. (Screenshot)

Funding alert: Swim with the Sharks, Delaware’s own version of “Shark Tank” from the Emerging Enterprise Center (EEC), will be held on Nov. 3 this year. A grand prize package valued at nearly $20,000 — including $10,000 in cash, plus a professional promotional pitch clip by King Creative for all finalists — will be awarded to one young startup in the state. And it’s not too late to apply if you’re eligible, with applications open until Aug. 6.

While the cash and prizes offered are valuable, so is the professional advice given by the judges along the way. Last year’s judges were Gayle Dillman of Gable Music Ventures, Bob Beichner of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce and Katey Evans of The Frozen Farmer.

This year’s finalist judges have been announced to be:

  • Chris L. Kenny, Esq., president and CEO at The Kenny Family ShopRites of Delaware
  • Pedro Moore, CEO and founder of FundingFuel, Inc5
  • Stephanie Eldridge, cofounder of Code Differently
In addition, four Delaware professionals will judge the preliminary rounds:
  • Denita L. Henderson, associate state director at Small Business Development Center
  • Mike Rinkunas, associate director of commercialization programs at Horn Entrepreneurship
  • Todor Raykov, director of venture services at NextFab 
  • Deanna M. Merritt, Ph.D, marketing and management at Goldey-Beacom College

To be eligible for the competition, you must have a Delaware business in the NCC Chamber of Commerce’s traditional service area (which does include Kent and Sussex counties) that has been in operation for fewer than five years and has a valid business license. The application will include a detailed business outline. All eligible applicants will give a five-minute pitch to the preliminary judges and answer questions, and three finalists will be chosen to make a five-minute pitch on Nov. 3.

Apply here

If you’re not quite ready to Swim with the Sharks, the EEC is offering a free webinar on Aug. 9 open to both competition participants and members of the public, led by Moore. The one-hour webinar, “How to Create a Pitch Deck for Investors,” will help attendees understand how to create an effective pitch to investors that can be tailored as a pitch to customers, suppliers and media.

Companies: New Castle County Chamber of Commerce

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