HANCOCK, Mich. (WJMN) – Finlandia University held a contest for high school students on Wednesday that mimics the show ‘Shark Tank’. It’s called FinnU Shark Day. Students had to come up with unique ideas that are realistic, not cost prohibitive and with wide appeal to their target demographic.

Event coordinator, Lauren Huested, says students are exposed to concepts that until the competition, have been foreign to them.

“Shark Day is all about getting students interested in entrepreneurship and marketing and just thinking creatively and being innovative.” said Huested. “So, the idea of the event is to give them a theme, give them a crash course on marketing and business and entrepreneurship, because some of the students have never heard these contests before. Give them a theme of the day that they have to build a product or service on and then pitch it to the judges.”

The competition trimmed down to three teams, all with valid ideas. An umbrella for up to four people, a camp chair with a swing away food tray, and an off-road e-bike for the physically handicapped.

The winner was the team from Calumet High School. Their idea of an e-bike that allows access of disabled individuals into heavily wooded areas impressed the judges and won first prize, a $2,500 scholarship to attend Finlandia University. Calumet team members were proud of their idea and were elated with first place.

“My product was the e-bike,” said Makolin, Calumet student. “We were trying to help out the disabled and just get them outside more because they’re probably sick of being cooped up at home.”

Contest judge Amanda Makela was impressed with all the entries, but ultimately gave first place to Calumet because the idea was a way to give back to the community.

“They really rose to the challenge because they were sort of just given this on the fly,” said Makela. “The fact that they all could think of something relevant to their own needs, their own communities is very, it’s very uplifting to know that they are they are mindful of themselves in their communities.”

The main purpose of FinnU Shark Day is to expose young people to entrepreneurship, teamwork, public speaking and creativity.