Student entrepreneurs prepare to present their ideas for The Hatch

The Hatch will be presented virtually on April 22 at 6 p.m.

Fans of ABC’s show "Shark Tank" will find Bowling Green State University’s The Hatch very familiar.

Aiming to give students the chance to fund exciting new projects, this year will mark the event’s first hybrid presentation – with both an in-person and virtual components. Last year called for quick adaptation for this Allen W. and Carol M. Schmidthorst College of Business event, but for Kirk Kern, associate teaching professor and director of the Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, that is just the name of the game.

“This year, we’re hoping to involve more live aspects,” Kern said.

Starting in 2013, the usual setup for The Hatch would have students from various majors and disciplines present their ideas and products to a panel of investors and an audience. Over the course of several months of work and mentorship, the Hatchlings perfect their pitches and products.

“It’s a rigorous and intense 10-week program,” Kern said. “Our aim is to equip our students with everything an entrepreneur faces as they pursue their own businesses.”

While the training has not changed, the presentation itself certainly has. Last year shifted the event to be virtual, with Hatchlings presenting over video and the whole event being streamed for anyone to tune in. And people definitely tuned in. Well over 3,500 spectators last year watched eagerly as the Hatchlings presented.

Kern is excited to bring an even more exciting event to people’s computer screens, as students will appear and present in-person. The Hatchlings in question come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from majors in art and music to psychology and business – anyone has a chance to succeed at The Hatch.

“An entrepreneur doesn’t have to be a businessman,” Kern said. “They can come from anywhere. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs were scientists.”

From the Schmidthorst College of Business, juniors Kathryn Greenwell, marketing major, and Leah Schulze, psychology major with a minor in Spanish, co-created "Wheely Warmers," a product designed for wheelchair usability in winter. Joe Greve, business management major, will present "Crank-Savr Technology," a fishing lure that prevents snags. Freshman Hatchlings Hunter Mahl, a business administration major, and Nathanael Slemmons, an economics major with a minor in entrepreneurship, will present their products, Mahl’s "Green Sweeper" for lawn care, and Slemmons’s "SimpleFinder" for locating lost objects around the house.

From the College of Arts and Sciences, senior Nolan Thomas, an individualized studies major with a minor in entrepreneurship, will present "Ruff and Rugged," a sturdier dog collar, along with junior Sophia Stockham, political science and communication double major, and her product, "Hear to Help," improved and affordable hearing aids.

Representing the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering, senior Shakir Blackett, aviation engineering technology major, has "TouchColor," a braille system for clothing and color.

The final two Hatchlings, doctoral student Pablo Gómez-Estévez from the College of Musical Arts with a major in composition, will present "Literally," online musical interactive children’s stories, and 1989 business administration alumnus Tim Tressel will present "TOOLing Around Tool Caddy for Utility Tractors."

One thing that has not changed is that The Hatch encourages ingenuity from all corners of BGSU. Kern is a firm believer that anyone, with the right tool, can succeed in the competitive landscape.

“That’s why BGSU offers an entrepreneur minor and not a major,” Kern said, “because we want everyone to have the opportunity to learn and study how to start and maintain their own business.”

You can watch The Hatch at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 22 at bgsu.edu/thehatch.

Media Contact | Michael Bratton | mbratto@bgsu.edu | 419-372-6349

Updated: 04/21/2021 06:24PM