Edina hosts its third annual Shark Tank event for young entrepreneurs


Malak Alkhatib

Junior Paisley Andrews shows the sharks her prototype of a self watering plant pot in hopes of taking away the stress of watering a plant.

Hannah Owens Pierre, staff writer

On May 4, Edina Public Schools and the Edina Chamber hosted the third Edina Shark Tank, an event based on the popular reality TV show “Shark Tank.” Six Edina High School students pitched their entrepreneurship projects to a panel of three judges, competing for a $1,000 prize. Student participants included senior Riley Erikson and juniors Oscar Sanchez-Christensen, Carmela Cadja, Rakiya Sheikhosman, Carolina Sierra, and Paisley Andrews. Andrews was named Shark Tank Champion and took home the prize. 

The night began with a pitch from Sanchez-Christensen, who spoke about his business idea titled International Uplink Solutions, a program designed to facilitate multi-lingual meetings. Sanchez-Christensen’s idea for his project came from working as a project manager for translation service INGCO International for school board meetings. During COVID, Sanchez-Christensen worked with Clark County School District (CCSD) in Las Vegas, Nev., when the district had to stream school board meetings in English. “CCSD students are 80% minorities, so there were hundreds of thousands of families who didn’t have access to the crucial information that they needed from their schools. In the span of three days, I was able to develop a solution which took the English board meeting from CCSD and combined it with simultaneous interpreters and streamed it out in multiple languages,” Sanchez-Christensen said. “I found a passion to help others by using their native language.” 

Sanchez-Christensen enjoyed the opportunity to learn from his peers in the activity. “Being able to see the end product from all these people is amazing,” he said. “They are all so talented and I’m blown away by the amount of effort I saw and the amount of raw talent that’s here. Honestly, my favorite part is just seeing people in their natural environment and their passion.” The experience also inspired Sanchez-Christensen to explore further opportunities for his business idea. “This is just the start for me. I’ve been looking for more presentation-type things like this around the state and I really want to go for it and make this dream come true,” he said. 

Sierra presented her business idea of Guava Lava, a frozen croissant infused with Ecuadorian flavor, along with samples for the judges. “Growing up, my grandma from Ecuador would come and visit my family. Each time she’d visit she’d make these amazing guava empanadas and they were so delicious, and they filled our house with an amazing smell,” Sierra said. Her inspiration for her product came from her and her family’s shared love of baking. 

“I made a lot of great connections after [Shark Tank]. I think it was a great way to expose myself to this kind of experience, especially because as a junior, I’m thinking a lot about what I want to do in college and I think this was a great way for me to get started,” Sierra said.  

Andrews was the last presenter and the winner of the event. She pitched her plan for Oopsie Daisy, a self-watering plant. The product also comes with an app to correctly water plants by customizing and inputting information about them. Andrews’ concept sprang from her experience accidentally killing her neighbor’s plants. For her presentation, Andrews displayed a prototype for the product. “I think the most challenging aspect of the project was actually coming up with the idea because I knew that I wanted to make a self-watering plant, but I didn’t know how that would work,” Andrews said. “But I was able to find a couple of connections, like I found an engineer to work with who helped me figure out how to actually make this possible. And it was the most challenging part, running around, finding people, getting ideas. I talked to two different flower shops, I talked to my neighbors, but in all, it was very challenging to find time but it was so much fun and I found something I really love to do.” 

Andrews thanked her parents, siblings, and friends for encouraging and supporting her in the process of creating her project. “I learned a ton. I learned what I liked to do. I never knew that I loved to mess around with business stuff and I learned that I just love the overall aspect of trying to create something new,” she said.