April 25, 2017

White Bear Lake, MN – Seven Century College students were awarded scholarships in the annual Century College Muskie Tank Challenge. Marc Olson of Columbia Heights was awarded the grand prize scholarship, a $5,000 value. Six other students received $1,000 scholarships, including Julie Risser of Edina, Youngik Seo of Brooklyn Center, Oluwadare Sobande of St. Paul, Elise Laudet of Mahtomedi, and Julie Olson and Xiomara Dominguez, both from Stillwater.

Inspired by the hit ABC TV show, “Shark Tank,” the Muskie Tank Challenge nurtures entrepreneurship and creativity among students, connecting them with mentors and community leaders. The Challenge took place over a five-month period, and involved the development of project proposals, business plans and presentations to industry entrepreneurs and experts.

Marc Olson’s winning idea involves an innovative design in fishing equipment, and he has developed patents for his idea.  As the winner of the Muskie Tank Challenge, Olson will compete as a semi-finalist in the University of Minnesota’s MN Cup challenge. Olson is currently working on an Additive and Digital Manufacturing degree through Century’s Fabrication Lab program.  ”Working with the Fab Lab was an incredible experience, along with working a mentor,” Marc said. “The Muskie Tank Challenge helped me to learn more about what it takes to start a business.” 

Jim Mishek, founder of VistaTek and creator of the Muskie Tank, finds that the participants and their projects get better each year.  ”The Muskie Tank Challenge offers students two invaluable learning experiences; first, they learn how to think innovatively and remove any obstacles from their way, and second, they learn how to develop a business plan and bring their ideas to fruition.” 

Four years ago, Mishek saw the potential to integrate real-world innovation and creativity into the college learning experience. “Where else can students have a chance to develop their own ideas, with the help of top faculty and industry experts, and the use of the Fab Lab?” says Mishek. “And, Century College is the only two-year school with an automatic semi-finalist position in the Minnesota Cup, and that speaks to the high caliber of  the Muskie Tank winners.”

The Muskie Tank challenge is a joint venture between local businesses and Century College. Sponsors of the Muskie Tank include: VistaTek, Wilson Tool, Redpath, Ltd., Risdall Advertising, 3M, University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, and the Century College Bookstore.

Please visit the Muskie Tank Challenge for more information.