Eastern’s Enactus geared up for another Shark Tank Event on Thursday, April 4. Based on the hit show Shark Tank on ABC, Eastern students pitched their business ideas to a panel of professionals with a chance to win up to $1,000. The contestants ranged from a high school student from Lancaster Christian School to a veteran now studying psychology here at Eastern. Here is a little bit more about each student-entrepreneur that presented Thursday.
Jason DiPietro served in the military from 1999 through 2003 with the 82nd Airborne Division. He was deployed to England, Afghanistan and the Republic of Korea. DiPietro left the military and built a successful contracting company, specializing in historic masonry. Career ending injuries, sustained in the military, created a new direction for DiPietro, and he decided to further his education by focusing on helping transitioning veterans. He is also a recent graduate of the Community College of Philadelphia, a certified addiction and trauma counselor and is currently attending Eastern University, where he intends to obtain his PhD in psychology.
Jesse Whiteman is a senior at Eastern University, who is majoring in economic development. Whiteman is heavily involved on campus as an RA in Gough Hall, and serves as a member of the Student Government Association. Whiteman is passionate about the role businesses can play in addressing social and economic problems, and upon graduation, hopes to use his degree to work in the field of multi-sectoral collaboration for social change.
Abigail Stevens is a senior Economic Development major from Bend, Oregon. She’s passionate about poverty, criminal justice and environmental sustainability. She hopes to start a social business in the future.
Jordan Sisson is currently a business accounting, finance and entrepreneurial studies major here at Eastern. He is an experienced outdoorsman and an aspiring business owner. Sisson used his experience in hunting and love for entrepreneurship to launch his product, SureLoc.
Preston Heller is a junior at Lancaster County Christian School (LCCS) and was the winner of LCCS’s annual Shark Tank event. He is excited to share his product, BrightWalk, that he hopes will help save thousands of lives.
All the presentations the night of the event showed professionalism, passion and each presenter’s unique personality. DiPietro’s transition of veteran to entrepreneur inspired the audience, as he received a round of applause for his service. He is the CEO of a company that is currently in its alpha stage of development, MotrPool. MotrPool is a ride sharing app, similar to Uber and Lyft, but dedicated to employ and empower our military community. He has found a way to connect to everyone and take on the role of a leader in almost any situation presented to him.
Whiteman and Stevens clearly had a “home- field” advantage. The energetic welcome started their presentation on the right track. New Roots, their social impact business, hopes to connect corporate businesses and nonprofit organizations in a more meaningful way. Their passion was evident as they were presenting, highlighting the impact that corporate America could have on nonprofit establishments. New Roots hopes to facilitate the relationship between these organizations and help both members flourish.
Sisson’s product, SurLoc, targets (pun intended) cross-bow hunters looking to integrate technology into their arrows. SurLoc is a smart arrow and nock system that assists in tracking the animal after hit by an arrow. This is all done by a GPS system in the nock and an app through your phone.
Finally, one of the highlights of the entire event was high school student Preston Heller’s presentation. Brightwalk is a lighted crosswalk solution that will help save thousands of unnecessary deaths due to traffic accidents. He even had a small prototype, showing how the LED lights would be implemented. After all the presentations and a time for Q&A, the three judges went to discuss their options.
After much deliberation, the judges came back to the stage with results. Jesse Whiteman and Abigail Stevens, the creators of New Roots, came out on top and were awarded the $1,000 check! Directly behind them was Heller, followed by DiPietro and Sisson. Overall, the judges were impressed by all the presentations and the professionalism brought to the McInnis auditorium.