Playing with fire? Pizza onesies? Custom soccer cleats? State-of-the art back scratchers? Ear muffs for babies? Just another day at the office for the David Eccles School of Business and the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. Recently, the two partnered to host Shark Tank auditions for U community members to try for a chance to land on the popular ABC show.

Shark Tank is a reality show where budding entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to five sharks — successful business people who themselves were once on the grind — trying to convince one of them to invest in the idea. When more than one of the sharks decide they want a stake in the idea, a bidding war can break out, driving up the price of the investment — which all makes for great theater.

And quite the show it was on fifth floor of the Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building. Nearly 80 teams showed up to pitch their ideas to ABC executives with the goal of getting a chance on the show itself. The would-be contestants lined up after practicing their pitches and one-by-one gave their ideas to four folks who would pre-evaluate their pitches.

While we don’t know who will end up making the show, it was a great (and fun) learning opportunity for faculty, staff, students and alumni, who all got the opportunity to fine-tune their pitches and go through the process of actually pitching their idea.

Will the next great product come from the University of Utah? That’s anyone’s guess. But the event was a huge success. You can view pictures from the event at or on the Facebook page of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.