‘Fish Gobble’ by information systems major garners first place
CSULA students vie for top three prizes in Nongshim FastPitch competition
Dakuto Shitamura, an information systems major at Cal State L.A., just won $5,000 and may be on his way to launching a successful business.
Shitamura recently received first place for Fish Gobble, an online storefront marketing his sustainable aquaculture feed, during the inaugural Nongshim FastPitch Student Business Plan Competition.
Hosted by Cal State L.A.’s newly-rebranded Global Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Nongshim FastPitch is designed to harness students’ creativity by having them pitch their most innovative business start-up idea in its most condensed form.
The concept for Fish Gobble was derived from Shitamura’s interest in fish and fish farming. He has long been concerned about the decades of overfishing and destructive fishing practices worldwide that have caused a decline in the population of many fish species. He is also disturbed by the pollutants that have degraded the ocean environment, leading to a restricted pool of fish that is safe for human consumption.
“My proposal is to develop a natural form of fish feed in order to allow the natural growth of the healthiest and most robust specimen in the industry and, at the same time, reduce the need for chemical supplements, chemical treatments and hormones within the fish that we consume,” said Shitamura. “Also, I would like to introduce a truly sustainable and affordable form of fish feed to the aquaculture industry.”
Shitamura’s product line can be found at www.fishgobble.com, and will consist of such live cultures as phytoplankton, nematodes and annelid worms, which he described as “what fish consume in their natural environments.”
He explained that his start-up business is also in line with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s objective to “increase the value of domestic aquaculture production from the present $900 million annually to $5 billion, which will help offset the $6-billion annual U.S. trade deficit in seafood.”
Guest judge Sharyn Beckett, an investor with Pasadena Angels, was impressed by the Fish Gobble business plan.
“I’ve seen many business plans, but Fish Gobble stood out as one of the best. This is truly going to disrupt the aquaculture industry,” she said.
An enterprising student, Shitamura created the Japanese Student Association at CSULA. Its first project was a fundraiser to support those who have suffered from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Drawing many supporters, Shitamura was instrumental in raising $5,000 toward that effort. He was also a winner of the 2013 SAP University Alliances Challenge, themed “Why I Want to Work with a Big Data Startup?”
“I am very grateful of the rich opportunities that CSULA provides. The ECCO entrepreneurship club as well as great professors, like Dr. Stephen McGuire, have been extremely supportive in the process,” said Shitamura. “Also, the chance to participate and win first place in the FastPitch competition at CSULA allowed me to spread my message to many individuals, including investors.”
The Nongshim FastPitch competition challenged students from every discipline to present a one-page business plan focusing on the bare essentials needed to get a business idea off the ground. The plan was required to cover the following topics: opportunity, problem, solution, competitors, business model, market size, and its potential.
During the event, the students also presented a 90-second pitch to a panel of entrepreneur and investor judges.
Other winners of the competition include CSULA finance major Nick Ventura, who won a second prize of $2,500 for his “inFORa” fast pitch, and CSULA business administration major Amanda Wildman, who won a third prize of $1,000 for her “ME Time” fast pitch.
“Our Nongshim FastPitch winners and participants have all demonstrated incredible potential. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or more of them turned out to be the next Facebook or Google,” said CSULA Professor Robert Carpenter, who directs the Global Center housed under the auspices of the College of Business and Economics at CSULA.
The Global Center, formerly the Institute of Entrepreneurship, exists to advance entrepreneurial thought, leadership, and opportunities for students. It is both a think tank and action tank, and its primary goal is to help create an “entrepreneurial eco-system” for our faculty and students on- and off-campus.
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