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Shark Tank rewards entrepreneurial solutions to real-world problems

By Kate Hoving August 14, 2017
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Photo by Borah Kim

The dazzling set, cameras, dramatic lighting and air of expectation were comparable to its television namesake, but the third annual Shark Tank, hosted by The Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations (ITPIR) in Commonwealth Auditorium on Aug. 3, gave the concept a uniquely W&M spin.

Whereas the Mark Burnett-produced reality show attracts viewers will promises of multi-million investments, sparkly marketing campaigns, Scrub Daddy sponges and pheromone-infused hair products, ITPIR’s Shark Tank drew a robust audience and impressive panel of sharks not only because of what it promises but also what it delivers: student-faculty partnerships using their creativity, skill and interests to find innovative solutions to international challenges. As ITPIR Co-Director Mike Tierney said in his introduction, “ITPIR incubates student-faculty research projects that are international, interdisciplinary and policy relevant. One of my favorite ITPIR programs is the Shark Tank … Their ideas and sweat equity actually provide the foundation for many existing projects here at ITPIR.”

Who’s to say that isn’t at least as important as the Simply Fit Board - The Workout Board with a Twist?

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