Mayor Pugh Raises $75K to Create A ‘Shark Tank’ for Baltimore

Could sharks soon be swimming through Baltimore?

A riff on the reality TV show “Shark Tank” is being planned to help teenagers and young adults in Baltimore sell their ideas to the business world with a potential investment on the line, Mayor Catherine Pugh said Saturday.

As reported in the Baltimore Business Journal,

Pugh, a big fan of the Emmy Award-winning ABC network show, said at a minority and small business conference this weekend that she had raised $75,000 so far to begin the entrepreneurial outreach, to be held in a high school auditorium June 10.

The program’s concept is now being circulated to high school students, the mayor said, to spark discussion, dreams and, of course, the perfect business pitch.

The targeted age group is 16 through 21.

Pugh herself is a small business owner and partner in a small consignment shop in Pigtown. She said she has watched “Shark Tank” for years and this spring approached the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation to donate to the creation of a local, youth version and they chomped on it — along with two other business owners who became donors.

“I want to encourage young people to start their own businesses,” Pugh said during the MoneyBaltimore event at the Radisson Hotel that attracted a group of more than 250 business owners and aspiring business owners.

The location of the youth “Shark Tank” event was still being determined, the mayor said. And the group of local business experts who will function as the “sharks” is also under formation.

“It will be a diverse panel,” Pugh said.

As for the pitch, the mayor added that the winners will be matched with a successful business mentor, much like the self-made millionaires and billionaires on the TV show who will help turn their plans into a successful reality.

“Bring your ideas,” she said. “They have to be descriptive. Someone will be following you and helping you. We’re not just going to hand out a check.

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