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Ridgefield ECDC announces judges for Tiger Shark Tank!

Tiger Shark Tank


Announcing Acclaimed Judges for “Tiger-Shark Tank” on Oct 26!

Ridgefield-based Entrepreneurs and Business Owners – get your pitch ready! The ECDC has organized a Tiger-Shark Tank event so that you can pitch your business idea to an incredible panel of notable leaders, entrepreneurs and investors.

On Wednesday, October 26 at 7:00pm at the Ridgefield Library, these Judges will vote on the best ideas, and award Ridgefield Chamber gift cards to the top ideas. Please email pitches to by Monday October 24.

The esteemed Judges will be Deborah Backes (owner of Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe), Jay Walker (founder of Priceline), Jeff Bornstein (former Vice Chairman of General Electric), Chris Bishop (co-founder of Blue Buffalo dog food), and Sean Dowd (ECDC Commissioner and co-founder of Ridgefield Bicycle Company). All are Ridgefield locals!

Deb Backes owns and operates Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe on Main Street in Ridgefield. Prior to opening the shop in 1998 (and subsequently expanding it), she practiced law in a large firm in New York City as a corporate tax attorney, working on many large mergers, acquisitions and restructurings, as well as negotiating credit transactions for major banks.

Jay Walker is CEO and Chair of ApiJect Systems, Corp., shaping its overall vision and leading its business activities. He has founded dozens of companies including Priceline (, a leading global travel provider. He curates TEDMED, the TED conference on health and medicine, and is the world’s 10th most patented living inventor, with over 950 U.S. and international patents.

Jeff Bornstein has more than 30 years of experience in corporate and investing leadership roles, including his time as Vice Chairman and CFO at General Electric from 2013 to 2017. He currently serves as a Managing Partner at both Whipstick Ventures LLC and Generation Capital Partners.

Chris Bishop is the owner and CEO of North American Motor Car and American Metal Customs. Before creating North American Motor Car, Chris was the Director of Event Marketing at SoBe Beverages before creating the Blue Buffalo pet food brand with his family. He served as the Senior Vice President of Advertising and co-founder of Blue Buffalo.

Ridgefield ECDC Commissioner Sean Dowd is an accomplished entrepreneur and early-stage investor dedicated to creating a positive impact in the community through the provision of capital, economic development advising, and management. In 2011, Sean co-founded the award-winning Ridgefield Bicycle Company which he built into a top-producing shop in the country. With a previous career as an investment banker, Sean has over 25 years of experience working at large firms including UBS and Knight Capital Group and independently within private equity investing and advising. 

The Ridgefield ECDC encourages anyone who lives in Ridgefield, or who has a business in the Town, to present at the event, such as a Home-based business, Main Street business (retail, restaurant, or other), Manufacturing, Service, Technology, or any business! Pitches can be for a new idea of the expansion of an existing business. High School and College students are welcome.

Winners will receive Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce gift cards. The winning entrepreneur will receive $1,000 in gift cards, Runner-up will receive $500, and Third and Fourth place will receive $250 each.

Please email ECDC member Sean Dowd with any questions or to arrange a pitch!

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