Shark Tank Graham County

The Graham County Leadership Cohort announces a Shark Tank event for Fall 2018 with $20,000 in cash and prizes available to help businesses start or scale-up. In partnership with EAC Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and in collaboration with Local First Arizona Foundation, the effort offers entrepreneurs opportunity to sharpen their acumen and develop robust business plans to pitch to local sharks in a live event modeled after the popular "Shark Tank" television series and to be held at the David M. Player Center for the Arts.

The effort is both a celebration of and reward for entrepreneurship in Graham County. Cohorts were launched in 2016 by Freeport-McMoRan and facilitated by the ASU Lodestar Center with a goal to support leadership development and collective action around a measurable outcome as a strategy to support communities in leading their own development and sustainability. Local leaders selected the community priority of Economic Development and focused on a measurable outcome of Increased Businesses Developed, Attracted and/or Retained.

Entrepreneurs may enter the Shark Tank competition one of two ways: by completing business trainings conducted by the SBDC, or by being a graduate of DreamBuilder - the Women's Business Creator. SBDC workshops will begin August 2018 and run through September. The fee for the trainings is $40 per business with a limit of three participants per business and the registration deadline is July 26. DreamBuilder is a free online learning program offered by Freeport-McMoRan in partnership with the Thunderbird School of Global Management and Bluedrop Performance Learning. It was developed for women who want to start or grow their own small business and may be completed at your own pace as it is available at any time to anyone, anywhere with internet access.

In tandem, Local First Arizona Foundation is launching a Micro Lending program in Graham County with $120,000 in grant support from the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation. The program will offer smaller loans to local businesses to help them stay competitive in a continuously changing economy.