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Starting businesses takes money; Weber State University’s Wildcat Seed Fund is here to help.

The Wildcat Seed Fund is for budding entrepreneurs with early-stage concepts or ventures that need funding to progress to the next stage. WSU takes no equity in the business, and recipients aren’t expected to pay the money back; it’s like a grant. Students and faculty with business ideas can pitch for anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

The first distribution of funds took place on Oct. 24 and was run by James Taylor, the director of WSU’s Office of Sponsored Projects & Technology Commercialization. The event was reminiscent of the TV show Shark Tank but instead of business owners picking who to back, the audience decided which presenters got funding and how much they got.

Presenters began with an “opportunity quest,” which was a five-minute pitch video/presentation, followed by a few minutes of Q&A. After this process, the top five competitors were also entered into a competition at the University of Utah, where the top three places will receive thousands of dollars and first place will be entered into an international competition in China.

First to pitch was student Tanner Peck, along with an associate of his, a student from the University of Utah. Peck owns a real estate sign installation and removal company. Their clients place orders online, and they deliver and install the post within a day.

In 2017, the company made $16,313, but this year, in 2018, it has made $74,571, and Peck was quick to remind everyone that the year isn’t over yet. Peck emphasized his company’s lower prices and quicker turnaround time than competitors as reasons his company deserves funding.

The next Seed Fund meeting will take place at the Fireplace Lounge in the Shepherd Union building on Nov. 18.

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