Polish your “elevator pitch,” because “Shark Tank” is coming to Portland.

The popular entrepreneur reality show, which airs Friday nights on ABC, will host an open casting call Wednesday at the Italian Heritage Center at 40 Westland Ave. Doors open at 9 a.m., and the first 500 in line are guaranteed a chance to pitch their business, product or idea to a member of the show’s production staff.

“Shark Tank” stars a panel of celebrity entrepreneurs, referred to as “sharks,” who listen to contestants’ pitches and may agree to invest their own money if they like what they hear. If none of the sharks decides to make a deal, the contestant goes home with nothing.

Scott Salyers, the show’s supervising casting producer, told the Portland Press Herald that during the initial, one-minute casting pitches, his staff is looking primarily at the person making the pitch. He said “enthusiasm and vision” are the keys to advancement. Short-duration business pitches are commonly referred to as “elevator pitches” because they are designed to grab an investor’s attention quickly, such as in the time it takes to ride an elevator.

“It’s not as important WHAT they are pitching but HOW they are pitching,” Salyers said via email. “We are looking at their passion, energy and excitement about their business.”

There is no limit to the number of applicants in Portland who could be chosen to participate in the show, he said.

This is the second year “Shark Tank” has partnered with the Chicago-based wireless communications firm U.S. Cellular to bring auditions to smaller markets such as southern Maine. Salyers said it was U.S. Cellular that chose Portland for the next round of auditions. Recently it hosted casting calls in Oklahoma City and Knoxville, Tennessee.

“They wanted to bring Shark Tank casting to parts of the country we wouldn’t normally go to,” he said.

Wednesday’s casting call is further evidence that Portland has distinguished itself as a prominent location for entrepreneurism, said Don Gooding, executive director of the Portland-based Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development.

“It’s not singularly a breakthrough,” Gooding said. “It’s another indication that Portland is on the national entrepreneurship map.”

The casting call is for the seventh season of “Shark Tank.” The show drew an average of more than 9 million viewers per episode during its most recent run and has been the No. 1 show on Friday nights since 2012.

For the past few seasons, the show’s investor panel has included real estate magnate Barbara Corcoran, technology innovator Robert Herjavec, FUBU clothing founder Daymond John, Canadian venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and QVC pitchwoman Lori Greiner.

If any Mainers are chosen for the show, they won’t be the first. In 2012, Scarborough natives and cousins Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis appeared on “Shark Tank,” where they received $55,000 from Corcoran for their Cousins Maine Lobster food truck business, which is now a national franchise with 10 locations.

To participate in the casting call, applicants must have filled out an application in advance that can be found online at abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank/applications. Applicants must be legal U.S. residents age 18 or older, have no prior felonies or pending charges for any crime, and must be willing to submit to a background check.

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