An entrepreneurship-based series at Judson University in Elgin, IL
CREATE is an initiative that began in the fall of 2014 with a handful of students and faculty at Judson University in Elgin, IL. The group shared a similar vision for the University to develop "a culture of entrepreneurialism," and decided to launch a series of speakers, workshops and competitions that would help achieve that vision. Thus, CREATE was born.
The first event in the series took the form of a film screening, hosted by Judson President Gene Crume. For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles drew in students from all over the University's campus to discuss how to approach faith, work and economics in modern culture.
Both February and March of 2015 witnessed great success for CREATE as well, as two separate full-house auditoriums listened, laughed and learned from David Ziegler, former Chairman of ACE Hardware Corporation, and Dr. Rob McCleland, Executive Director of John Maxwell's EQUIP Leadership, Inc.
Along the way, contestants vying for the limited slots in the first Shark Tank competition met with local business professionals and mentors to receive coaching for their entrepreneurial ideas.
The spring series reached the peak of its crescendo in the first-ever Judson Shark Tank–a business plan competition for students, alumni and the community of Elgin. Fourteen groups entered the contest in January, eleven reached the second stage and four groups were chosen to present their business plans on stage on April 15th, 2015, before a panel of seasoned business executives and yet another full audience. The members of the panel, who combined experience, education and even some humor to advise and judge each contestant, collectively named the first winner of the competition and the $1,000 prize: FireStrike Industries.
CREATE did not just stop after the spring of 2015, though, as its founders had envisioned an ever-expanding, vibrant community of entrepreneurs. Therefore, CREATE continued with the second Judson Shark Tank on November 19th, 2015, with the aim of further growing a series of mutually beneficial relationships between entrepreneurs, students, businesses and the University.