DALLAS TWP. — Jim Tunison’s business dreams were just that - dreams - until the Misericordia University student won Jon Taffer’s entrepreneurship competition.
Tunison was named grand prize winner of Taffer Virtual Teaching Contest, an entrepreneurial contest, awarding him $10,000 plus a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, to meet with Taffer, along with a free subscription to Taffer Virtual Teaching.
The host of reality television program “Bar Rescue” on Spike, Taffer provides business consultations for bar and restaurant owners and helps entrepreneurs develop ideas through his online program, Taffer Virtual Teaching.
The TVT Contest accepted business idea submissions from Jan. 4-22.
The series of events that took Tunison from a college student home for the holidays to entrepreneur-in-training happened so quickly the 21-year-old is still trying to wrap his head around it.
“I always wanted to own my own business,” said Tunison, who is working toward a master’s degree in Business Administration at Misericordia University in Dallas.
Tunison had toyed with the idea of creating a series of videos with musicians teaching people how to teach their songs. The concept began to formulate after he learned to play Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” and John Legend’s “All Of Me” from YouTube videos.
“It’s crazy what you can learn in a 30-minute video,” he said.
Tunison noted the “millions of views” the YouTube music instruction videos recieved and thought about retooling the idea to “connect artists with their fans.”
Tunison mulled over his idea during the university’s holiday break at his parents’ home in Bath, New York. One day, he was watching “Bar Rescue.”
“I went onto his (Taffer’s) website and found out about the contest,” Tunison said. “I was like, ‘Holy cow, what perfect timing.’”
He filled out the form and created the required 60-second video.
“The hardest part was creating the video,” he said. “It took an hour.”
When he returned to the Dallas campus, Tunison’s friends, faculty and staff at Misericordia University helped him promote his entry.
“The Misericordia marketing department helped out tremendously,” Tunison said. “They (the university’s marketing department) tagged him (Taffer) in every Tweet.”
The day Taffer was scheduled to announce the winner and finalists, Tunison tried to keep his mind occupied by helping his girlfriend and a friend study for a physical therapy test on campus.
The trio caught the announcement through an app and erupted in cheers, Tunison said.
The ruckus disturbed a nearby night class, causing the instructor to interrupt his teaching.
“When I explained that I won a business contest, he said, ‘Congratulations,’” Tunison said.
Now, Tunison is waiting for notification from Taffer’s staff with details about the trip to Las Vegas.
He is using the time to polish his business plan while researching details ,including copyright laws, how royalties work and possible expenses associated with his idea.
“I always thought of being in business, but I never thought about the expenses involved such as patents, equipment and royalities,” he said.