16-year-old Nohbo CEO Set to Swim with the Sharks on ABC’s Shark Tank

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Teen entrepreneur and Nohbo CEO Benjamin Stern hopes to spark a revolution in the personal care industry

Nohbo Ball Shark Tank

Ocean-going sharks are obviously perils to be avoided. On Feb. 19, however, 16-year-old teen entrepreneur Benjamin Stern will encounter a different breed, and his fondest hope is to be swallowed whole.

Not that the panelists on the ABC-TV program "Shark Tank" lack teeth, as many a hapless would-be entrepreneur has discovered. If a business plan or invention doesn't float, these well-heeled sharks will smell blood and attack -- after all, that's part of what makes the Emmy-award winning show entertaining.

Yet Benjamin Stern isn't scared, despite his age. To the Melbourne, FLA resident, this is not about him, but a product he fiercely believes in.

Last year, while living in Northern Virginia, Stern developed the concept for the Nohbo Ball, the world's first water-soluble, environmentally-friendly ball containing shampoo, conditioner and other body conditioning products in a single-use amount. It is activated by running water and friction, and it requires no bottle and no packaging -- hence, no waste.

He found a chemist to produce it, a law firm to patent his idea and a business advisor to provide strategic guidance. He then he installed himself as CEO. A venture capital firm even offered to provide funding to help him launch his company but Benjamin ultimately decided to pitch his company on Shark Tank.

Benjamin will pitch the panel of five Sharks on the business and its prospects for growth. He’ll need to convince Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Grenier, and Robert Herjavec that the company is worthy of a Shark investment. A good business plan, good financials, and sales data will impress the Sharks, but he’ll need to show them HE is capable of running the company to “Shark standards.”

"Our growth strategy," he says, "includes branching out to hotel chains with a strong environmental awareness, and having them test our products in their lodging establishments. Once the consumer figures out how to work our personal care products, we will branch into retail, while licensing a few specialty lines exclusively to a few major shampoo brands."

It's a game plan that is not only ambitious, but expensive. Hence Stern's appearance on "Shark Tank," which holds out the hope that one of the panelists will breathe new financial life into the next big thing.

Or maybe the Nohbo Ball will turn out to be a shark repellent. Either way, Stern says bravely, it will be a valuable experience because he points out that getting funding for his company was only part of the reason he decided to pitch Shark Tank – he was also hoping to gain valuable insight from the Sharks and make new connections for the future.

Shark Tank airs Fridays on ABC at 9 PM Eastern, 8 PM Central.

About Nohbo Ball: Nohbo is the world's first water soluble ball containing shampoo, conditioner, or any body wash products. The company was created to make a difference in the world by creating an environmentally responsible personal care solution that reduces the amount of plastic bottles thrown into landfills each year. Learn more about Nohbo at http://www.nohboball.com/.


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Ron Flavin
since: 06/2008
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Ron Flavin
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