2017 Dolphin Tank: Call for Papers

Engage with the West Michigan Woman Community!

It's that time of year again—time to apply for the Michigan Women's Foundation Dolphin Tank Business Plan and Pitch Competitions. Established in 2012 as a gentler version of the hit TV show Shark Tank, Dolphink Tank showcases the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Southeast and Western Michigan.

To apply, submit a two-page concept paper. Applications are due by midnight, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Judy Welch, Executive Director West Michigan, offers some insight on the application process.

Who should apply for Dolphin Tank Business Plan and Pitch Competitions?
Women in Michigan with a viable business idea and those in the startup or growth phase of an existing business seeking to get to the next step in their entrepreneurial quest.

What benefits does Dolphin Tank offer participants?
In addition to monetary prizes ($10,000 | $5,000 | $2,500 | $1,000), the competition offers participants an opportunity to work with subject matter experts skilled in legal, financial, marketing and business leadership coaching as they develop and hone the required 10-page business plan. Furthermore, the competition provides contestants exposure to the market, the community and additional support resources they may not have had occasion to connect with.

Could you provide a few quick tips for concept papers?

  • Take advantage of the template provided to create a well-developed paper.
  • Follow contest guidelines about length and format.
  • Be sure the value proposition is clear and compelling, with an identified problem or core issue and a unique solution.
  • Be clear and concise.
  • Use language the reader will easily understand—avoid technical jargon.
  • Spell check!

What will make a Concept Paper stand out?
This paper shows well-thought-out ideas that establish feasibility through data/evidence. If the idea is simultaneously creative, unique and realistic, it will garner much attention—especially those that have potential to transform a market or alter how we live.

What will make it tank? (And not in a good, "Dolphin Tank" way.)

  • Incomplete entries.
  • Guidelines are not followed.
  • Ideas are poorly articulated or unsubstantiated.
  • Unrealistic financial projections.
  • Lack of attention to marketing.

To start your application, visit miwf.fluidreview.com.

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