Local bank holds 'Shark Tank' style competition for $26,000

A small business in Central Texas could win up to $26,000 by participating in the Shark Tank-esque competition.

WACO, Texas — Mr. Wonderful and Mark Cuban aren't on their way to Waco, but Extraco Banks is hosting a competition similar to "Shark Tank" for small businesses in Central Texas. 

The third annual "Extrapreneur Award Program" looks to reward businesses that can passionately pitch their ideas and become a staple in the community that will help grow the economy. 

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“We want to try and do some things that set us apart from the average community bank," Mark Reynolds, president of the Central Texas Region of Extraco Banks said. "So we really were focused on trying to build that entrepreneur segment and so a 'Shark Tank' type of effort is what we thought would be really good.”

Businesses can currently submit a video pitch that will be reviewed by judges. From there, the competition will be cut down to 20 entries for a second round that focuses on an executive business summary. Seven businesses out of the 20 will the advance to a live pitch round that models "Shark Tank." 

“You’ll have about 10 to 15 minutes to present your ideas, you can use video boards, you can use graphic boards, you can use whatever you feel like would be a good representation of your company. It was a lot of fun to see these people who have such passion for their ideas and commitment to build a business." 

Waco Tours was the 2019 winner (no competition occurred in 2020 due to COVID-19) and said the funding was great, but that they also received a year's worth of mentoring from Extraco executives. 

“We had to present our entire business plan as well as our finances in front of a panel of judges and do a presentation along with a question and answer time and it got all of our competitive juices flowing. To be honest our team was competitive, it was really fun," Heather Venable, Waco Tours tour manager said.

Each finalist will receive a $1,500 cash prize. Each finalist will be placed into a regional category based on the business’ headquarters location:

Region 1: Coryell, Hamilton and McLennan counties

Region 2: Bell and Williamson counties

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Region 3: Brazos County

For more information on rules and guidelines, you can visit their website.