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Want to jump into the 'Shark Tank'? Casting calls next week

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ABC’s hit show "Shark Tank," where entrepreneurs pitch to multimillionaire and billionaire investors, is holding an open call for potential show participants Jan. 15 at the Small Business Expo at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Those interested in pitching should bring a completed application, which can be downloaded at abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank/applications. Numbered wristbands will be distributed from 9 to 11 a.m. in Hall C of the Convention Center, with auditions beginning at 10 a.m.

Several Florida International University students and local businesses working with the Small Business Development Center at FIU will be among those making presentations during the “Shark Tank” casting call for the opportunity to pitch to Mark Cuban, Barbara Cocoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John and Kevin O'Leary.

The Small Business Expo, with exhibits, workshops and speed networking, runs from 9:30 to 5 p.m. and is free to attend. Register here: www.thesmallbusinessexpo.com/miami

The following morning, Jan. 16, University of Miami students, faculty and alumni will get their chance to potentially appear on "Shark Tank." Those interested should complete the application and go to Storer Auditorium at the School of Business Administration from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

University of Miami alumni who have appeared on "Shark Tank" have included Omar Soliman and Nick Friedman of College Hunks Hauling Junk, headquartered in Tampa, and Rodolfo and Alexis Saccoman, founders of MyTherapyJournal.com. Rodolfo, who was on in the first season, is currently CEO of AdMobilize in Miami Beach.

Shark Tank -- and its star Sharks-- have made fairly regular appearances in South Florida. Kevin O'Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, spoke at a TigerDirect event for businesses before its 2014 TechBash. Daymond John keynoted an Entrepreneurs' Organization conference. And there have been several casting calls. Other South Florida entrepreneurs who have appeared on the show include Dominique Barteet of Palm Beach Gardens, who successfully pitched a shoe with an interchangeable top, and Bibbitec’s Susie Taylor of Miami, with a cleanable, green, made in the USA bib for kids. She didn’t get “funded” but saw sales spike after her appearance.

 Posted Jan. 7, 2015

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