Lakeland’s Shark Tank: Which local entrepreneur will take home $10,000?

Catapult Lakeland’s Launch Night in November 2020. | Photo via @catapult.lakeland

Lakeland, welcome to the tank. 🦈  Next week, 5 local entrepreneurs are asking for $10,000 in micro-grant funding at Catapult Lakeland’s Launch Night. Want to be a part of the action? You can register to attend the free event, which takes place on Thurs., Oct. 21 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Catapult Lakeland, here

From community broadband to allergen-friendly baked goods, cast your vote for the entrepreneur you think would impress even Mr. Wonderful, himself.

Pitching entrepreneurs will have roughly 10 minutes to pitch their ideas + anywhere from 0-5 businesses could go home with funding. The “judges” are representatives from local banks (like MIDFLORIDA Credit Union) and while funds are not required to be repaid, chosen entrepreneurs are asked to invest 25% of the investment money back into the fund within 24 months.

Fall 2021

Photos of Vegetation Plant Food meals | Screenshot via

Rima Shcillinger | Vegetation Plant Food: Rima’s passions for cooking and promoting optimal health in her own family joined together to create Vegetation Plant Food. The meal service currently provides plant-based + whole food meals to the Lakeland area every Tuesday.

Richard and Brooke Young | Up Training Solutions: Richard + Brooke Young developed a mobile platform to promote productive habits and resource sales professionals with on-demand training content. With a goal of strengthening company communities and culture, the Get Up Now App, which launched in March of 2021, is fitted with customizable KPI tracking features to promote friendly in-house competition while completing productive activities. 

HB Holmes | RHEMAFi: This Lakeland pastor has big plans for bridging the accessibility gap of internet access between different socioeconomic groups within the Lakeland community. Pastor Holmes began his initiative by installing an 80-ft tower on the campus of his church, Rhema Word of Faith International. The tower provides WiFi, free of charge, in a 2-mile radius surrounding the church

Mk Boba Tea | Photo via @mkbobatea

Maximiliano Gomez | Mk Boba Tea: After living in Lakeland for 15 years, Max developed Mk Boba Tea to serve Lakeland high-quality teas and boba pearls. The boba-slinging-biz serves Lakelanders every Saturday at the Lakeland Farmers Market and frequently hosts pop-ups at local businesses throughout Central Florida.  

Shana Henry | Muffhens Bakery: Shana Henry began developing her vegan muffin recipes after struggling to find delicious options that worked for her family. With customizable options and the ability to ship vegan treats, Muffhens is known for providing wedding favors and large company orders. All products are gluten-free, non-gmo, and baked in an allergen-free environment for the top 12 allergens.


Spring 2021

Rut Patel at Catapult Lakeland. | Photo via @patelrut

Rut Patel | Voyager Industries: Just call this Polk State College graduate “Captain Planet,” as Rut is looking to create solutions to better protect the world and solve engineering problems for companies by the use of drones + artificial intelligence. Rut is asking for $10,000 in funding to purchase a laser falcon drone that detects gas leaks — allowing his company to expand into gas and oil industries

Chase Sellmeyer | Perigon USA: This FSC Moc graduate is asking for $10,000 to purchase the hardware + software his LLC is currently renting. His company creates virtual reality training videos

Sow Exotic baby jaboticaba plant. | Photo via @jackfrancesstrba

Brittany Brandi | Sow Exotic: The owners of this local, family-run plastic-free plant nursery are asking for an undisclosed amount to purchase a soil batch mixer dispenser — which could speed production times by four and decrease additional costs in labor.

Kevin Rackatoo | Gesture Control Glove: Straight out of a sci-fi flick, this Florida Polytechnic University student is pitching for $2,500 to help with his research and prototype of a wearable wifi-connector gesture recognition glove

Wendy Johnson in front of her new storefront, Krazy Kombucha. | Photo via @krazykombucha

Wendy Johnson | Krazy Kombucha: ICYMI, this Lakelander just announced the opening of her new storefront on S. Florida Ave., tentatively set for April. The brewery will feature 18 flavors on tap and Wendy is pitching for $10,000 to help increase Kombucha production by adding a tap line to her fridge system. 

These entrepreneurs will have roughly 10-minutes to pitch their ideas + anywhere from 0-5 people could go home with the money. The “judges” are representatives from local banks (like MIDFLORIDA Credit Union) and while funds don’t need to be paid back, chosen entrepreneurs are asked to invest 25% of the investment back into the fund later.

Ready to see if these locals sink or swim in the tank? RSVP here or below, to watch in-person or online and find out which entrepreneurs are the next Mark Cubans’ + which ones’ you’d say “for those reasons I am out.”