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JCEL 'Shark Tank': Final Five Announced

TYLER BECKSTROM Daily News Staff Writer

The Juniata College Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (JCEL) has announced its final five contestants in its business plan elimination competition. If you read the past article you're most likely aware of the competition's imitative feel of channel ABC's "Shark Tank". JCEL's executive director Nick Felice provided The Daily News with the names of the "Final Five": Nathaniel Fischer, Kevin Slomkowski, Domenic Cuzzolina, Vincent Smith and Ezra Cassel. The majority of the students are entrepreneurship majors.

When asked what their business plans were, Felice only smiled and indicated he would like to keep it a secret for the night of the final competition, Thursday, Nov. 17. However, he did let slip a few details about each competitors' plan to help prime the curiosity pump.

Fischer has apparently developed an "apparatus" of sorts to be used in the recreation industry. Slomkowski has created something for the entertainment industry that involves providing a venue. Cuzzolina is working on an Internet project that could potentially be international. Smith's idea is also Internet based. Cassel has a proposition product. With all the mystery, surrounding the competitors' ideas it really causes one to raise an eyebrow and wonder, but Felice would reveal no more of their inner workings.

For those who are curious, you can view the show's final competition live on an online streaming website Nov. 17. The website's address is The competitors are preparing to present their oral projects before seven judges that night. The max time each competitor is allowed to present is 15 minutes with five minutes following for questions from the judges.

It may seem like a nerve-wracking experience to stand before seven strangers, present something you've invested time, emotion and most likely a great deal of effort in and be evaluated on how you present – and it probably is. But JCEL does its best to prepare each individual presenting by providing continued mentoring and a workshop with a communications professor from Juniata to go over important presentation points and how best to convey their idea. With all the labor being poured into this event and a cash prize of $2,500 (with the potential of doubling that if used toward investing in the business idea) it promises to be an entertaining and impressive show.

If you are still wavering about joining in to watch a week from this Thursday, maybe this will change your mind. Felice added in a recent interview that a new dynamic is being added into the competition to help generate viewer interest. People watching the show can influence it by texting in with their favorite presenter on the night of the competition. At a certain point in the show, the audience will be asked for who they thought had the best oral presentation. While this won't influence the judges final choice, it does provide the winner with the "popular choice" award and an additional $100. So if you know someone competing, be sure to vote.

For those interested in attending the event in person, it will be held in the Brumbaugh building on Juniata College campus. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. sharp with the final decision being made that night at 9 p.m.