Spike TV has a new show for entrepreneurs' must-watch list.
The reality series Sweat Inc. is taking the Shark Tank model and applying it to the world of fitness entrepreneurs in hopes of discovering the next Soul Cycle, Zumba or Crossfit. The one-hour show starts on October 20 and will feature existing business owners competing for a $100,000 cash prize and the opportunity to launch their product or service at Retro Fitness's more than 130 locations across the U.S.
Judging the show's 27 contestants are former Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick, founder of functional training company TRX, health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels, and celebrity trainer Obi Obadike. Each of the show's first nine episodes will chose a winner in a specific fitness category--from circuit training to platform devices to interval training--with all nine finalists competing for the grand prize on the season finale. The entrepreneurs will be judged on their initial idea, the progress made by individuals training on the program, and popularity of the program among gym members.
"The heaviest weighting went to the potential for mass appeal," says Hetrick, adding that the product or service had only to be innovative, not necessarily new. "Soul Cycle has become a phenomenon, and they took a concept that has been around for 100 years--stationary cycling--and put a completely innovative take on it."
Throughout the series, all three judges will also act as mentors and advisors to the contestants. Hetrick helped the entrepreneurs with their branding and business models, Michaels focused on the popularity of the products and services, and Obadike focused on the quality of the training process.
Sweat Inc. is similar to Shark Tank in that the show is completely unscripted, but different in that every contestant has to have an existing business that is up and running--not just an idea. The greatest challenge for contestants is demonstrating that products or services are effective, have mass appeal, and operate using viable business models, according to Hetrick.
"You weren't going to come out with a different version of a jump-rope and win this competition," he says.
Check out the season premiere of Sweat Inc. on Spike TV at 10 pm EST on Tuesday, October 20.
Meantime, watch this interview on building a brand with Hetrick, whose TRX hit No. 451 on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private U.S. companies in 2011.