It’s fitting that Benjamin Stern’s last name is related to boats and the water, because on February 19th he’ll be braving ABC’s famous “Shark Tank”: a television show aimed at testing each contestant’s business plans to their limit. Should he survive the rigorous evaluation – which tests the applicant’s business acumen as well as his idea’s potential for growth – the 16-year-old Stern can expect to receive the funding that could well give his project the kick it needs in order to get off the ground. Before that can happen, however, he’ll need to impress Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavec, Barbara Corcoran and Lori Grenier, all of whom are respected entrepreneurs in their own right.
Stern’s idea is a potentially revolutionary one. An environmentally friendly hygiene product, the aptly named Nohbo Ball aims to be the world’s first water-soluble combination of shampoo, conditioner, and body-wash. The real brilliance of his project stems largely from the innovative packaging; since Nohbo Ball is exactly what it says on the tin – that is, a ball – there’s no requirement for a bottle or packaging. Add the fact that it can be activated by nothing more than friction and running water, and the eco-friendliness of the idea reaches new heights.
Stern is confident in his ability to put together a business plan the sharks will find viable. He’s aiming to target hotel chains who have a strong eco-ethos, using their premises in order to crash-test his product. Once the would-be customer has learned how the Nohbo Ball works, the plan is to extend the reach into retail. It’s a brave route to take – and an expensive one. Either way, the young entrepreneur has said, he’s looking forward to the experience of tackling the Shark Tank, and he’s excited about the prospect of insight from the panel on how best to manage his company in the future.
Shark Tank airs Fridays on ABC at 9pm Eastern, 8pm Central.