Students brainstorm at Finnish University Shark Day event

HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) – The University of Finland’s Shark Day event is back for a second year to educate local students about entrepreneurship.

This includes the use of creativity and innovation in business.

They also have the opportunity to come up with their own business ideas.

“The point is to get students to think outside the box,” says Lauren Huested, Finnish University Education Partnerships Manager. “They have to create a product or service based on the theme we give them, and then they have separate group sessions to create their product or service, and our theme this year is outdoor recreation.”

Students from the Baraga, Calumet and Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College CTE Business classes participated, each with their own motivation.

Some students came back from last year.

“I came back almost because of the excitement of being on stage in front of a lot of judges and being able to learn more about how to start your own business and get investment,” said Calumet High School student Gauge Downard.

For the first time, newcomers are ready to show off their ideas.

“When we came into our team, we were tasked with doing what we wanted to do,” said Calumet High School student Gabriel King-Takacs. “It’s been a great time coming up with this idea, and it’s been a great time so far.”

Students’ ideas were then judged by local business owners and entrepreneurs, Big Sharks.

“It’s exciting to see them creating ideas, developing their presentations, and then standing in front of us showing their energy and general ideation process,” said Jason Mack, VP of Business Development at MTEC SmartZone.

This year, a group of students from Calumet named PEMDAS won with their idea for an all-terrain electric wheelchair.

They were awarded a $2,500 scholarship to Finland to be split between the 2023-2024 school year.

Another Shark Day is planned for the spring semester at the university.

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