Shark Tank is T.V.’s version of the Joust. We were first. The producer of Shark Tank is a Knight and at least one UCF student has done both events. Like its T.V. counterpart, the Joust requires contestants to get out of their comfort zone and use data to convince a skeptical group of judges from the business community that their idea will lead to a successful enterprise worthy of investment. Several Joust contestants have gone on to launch companies that are in revenue. This year’s finals is Friday and we expect a big crowd in the Pegasus Ballroom. You can learn more about the Joust by clicking here.
In Medieval Times, the Joust was a showdown involving single riders on a horse. In our version, the horse is a business idea and we allow more than one rider. But, we rarely, if ever, see teams made up of students from different backgrounds. They tend instead to be pairs of engineers, performance artists, app developers or business students. Inspiration usually strikes one person at a time and a like mind to help flush out a new idea has a lot of value, but brining new ventures to market usually requires a team of people from different disciplines: research and development, production, marketing, finance, etc.. Even in the prototype phase, the constructive friction that comes from having multiple perspectives on a project can be the difference between failure and success.
So, how do we build on the success of the Joust and make entrepreneurship at UCF into a team sport? How can we get more teams of students comprised of people from different backgrounds to bring their business plans into the arena? Maybe we could hold speed networking events where students interested in working with a start-up could meet aspiring student entrepreneurs….Starter Riot Redefined? Or maybe we see the development of the management team as a post-Joust exercise that is best left for our accelerator program. However we do it, I have always believed there is a reason the College of Business sits between the College of Engineering & Computer Science on one side and the College of Sciences on the other. It would be great if students from these three schools (and others) would connect, form teams, win the Joust and enter the marketplace together.