BOWLING GREEN, OH (WTOL) - It's BGSU's version of Shark Tank. The Hatch is just as exciting with fresh ideas and real investors.
Ten students, eight unique business ideas, and all hoped to hook an interested investor.
Students have spent countless hours and several months preparing for their pitch at BGSU's Hatch on Thursday. More than 1,500 people showed up to hear their ideas, among them high school students, alumni, and the ever-important investors.
Ideas this year ranged from a pop-up palace for educational learning, a safety/ disaster preparedness kit, along with several other ideas like apps and technology.
Kristen Grom is a senior at BGSU and while her major has little to do with business or entrepreneurship she had a wild thought one day.
She was watching her dad chase her dog with a remote controlled car and noticed how fun it looked, but potentially unsafe it could be. That's when the idea came to her for "Power Play."
"I wanted to create something that was entertaining for not only the dog, but the owner," said Grom.
Grom, majors in visual communication technology at BGSU and is a 2018 "hatchling."
"Because it's like a game for the owner too. It's like keep away," she said.
She created an app-controlled dog toy and named it Power Play. It allows owners to control the remote controlled plush covered toy from their phone.
Grom believes millennials will love the toy for their pets with the social media feature to upload photos and videos, but she also believes it helps owners of all kinds.
Her invention allows dogs to play year-round, no matter the weather, to those with limited space or stuck indoors and even appeals to pet owners who cannot physically play with their dog due to mobility.
Her idea was a hit at The Hatch, interesting all five investors. During the several month process local mentors work with students to help them along
the way. It's a project they are honored to be a part of.
"It's something that they dreamed up at some point in their lives and they are following their dream," said Gary Dible, owner of two local Biggby Coffee shops and a Hatch mentor. "They are actually seeing something come to fruition and I think that's what entrepreneurship is all about. It's never letting someone tell you no and following your dream."
BGSU believes The Hatch is a way to nurture their students right here in our area.
"The infrastructure that supports them is all located here," said Ray Braun, Dean of the College of Business at BGSU. "So, we're hoping that connection and development of their idea into a business will keep them here."
Grom's power play is patent pending and will now head to incubation. Investors will provide her with $5,000 to perfect her prototype for 5% equity of her business. She said she will then pitch her findings again to them this summer where a new deal could be arranged.
Grom said she was so surprised all of the alumni investors wanted to work with her and she's eager to get started.
"This is an idea that I am passionate about, it's not just a product," said Grom. "I'm excited that hopefully it will be a household name."
Students feel this opportunity, deal or no deal, was enlightening and rewarding.