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Griffin Tank Returns with More Businesses and More Competition

Griffin Tank Returns with More Businesses and More Competition

Started as an opportunity for business majors to receive a unique way to present their senior seminar projects, Griffin Tank enters its third year in 2024 with a new list of local Chestnut Hill, PA businesses serving as the real-world clients for students.

Stephanie Almanza, Annika Wise, Chris Nelson, Cole Stanchina with their business partner, Chestnut Hill Brewing Company

Modeled after the hit TV program, Shark Tank, this exciting and educational initiative was created three years ago by Rita Borzillo, J.D., chair of the Center for Business and assistant professor of business at Chestnut Hill College. In this initiative, seniors in the program blend real-world business experiences with academic learning. During the semester-long project, students are paired with a local Chestnut Hill business to consult and develop business plans, which include completing a feasibility study, providing financial advice, and offering marketing recommendations. 

At the end of the semester, students present, recommend, and pitch to an audience including judges of CHC alumni and board members, local businesses, and the campus community on investing in their business plan. During this process, the students work with their peers on real-life deliverables for their assigned businesses based upon the culmination of what they learned throughout their academic careers. Additionally, students collaborate with faculty members and leverage the resources available within the Center for Business.

According to Borzillo, the Griffin Tank experience is meant to refine students' entrepreneurial skills but also prepare them for the challenges they might face in the business world.  

“To me, what is important is for students to prepare for the next step in their career," says Borzillo. "This means their ability to improve their written and oral communication skills. Additionally, this project provides the career readiness skills necessary for success in their future careers." 

This spring, the seven participating businesses include Chestnut Hill Brewing Company, Matines Café, Tailored Home, Moji Masala, Marchiano’s Bakery, Mont/Cole Construction LLC, and Price Contracting. These local businesses were recruited through the Chestnut Hill Business Association, a membership organization that exists to help businesses access a variety of benefits that have the power to advance all aspects of a business’s operations in Chestnut Hill.

Kate O’Neill, director of operations for the Chestnut Hill Business District, is excited for another year of engagement. 

“It’s wonderful to be offered these students who are on the cutting edge of learning new things and can benefit our businesses," says O'Neill. "Every time we have worked with the College, there have been successes. And this is a win-win situation for everyone."

Pedro Vicente (L) and Juan Molina (R) present their winning project at last year's Griffin Tank.

Juan Molina ‘24 and Pedro Vicente ‘24, the winners of last year’s Griffin Tank, can attest to the lasting impact the competition has had on their career trajectories working with NoName Gallery.  

“Griffin Tank exposed me to the intersection of art, technology, and business management, sparking a newfound interest in these areas,” says Vicente. “Navigating through the various stages of the competition, from conceptualization to presentation, equipped me with invaluable skills such as problem-solving, adaptability, and resilience. Overall, despite the ups and downs, the process of Griffin Tank was immensely rewarding and left me feeling empowered and motivated to pursue future endeavors with confidence.” 

Molina echoes Vicente’s positive experience with the program, crediting much of its success to Borzillo’s guidance.  

Professor Borzillo had a great impact on this and deserves much of the credit for the work we were able to do," notes Molina. "There was more than enough time to brainstorm, organize, and create important business models and additions that could positively impact businesses."  

One of the students presenting at this year's Griffin Tank is Annika Wise ’24. Wise and her group is partnered with Chestnut Hill Brewing and have been working with the company to determine a course of action to expand the brewpub's business offerings into the catering market.  

“In undertaking this project, my team and I had to analyze the catering market to determine the demand and competition in the space, calculate the possible costs, and create an innovative strategy to enter the market and generate demand," notes Wise, adding that, "so far, the Griffin Tank process has been an exciting experience to use the knowledge we have acquired so far throughout our degree, develop a relationship with a business, its staff, and owners (the client), and collaborate with our professors, and the community in order to work towards the end goal. It has been an insightful and satisfying experience." 

This year’s Griffin Tank will take place on Friday, May 3 starting at 12:30 p.m. in the East Parlor. This event is free and open to the public. 

- Jaime Renman

Posted In: Academic News