Indiana students invited to pitch ideas
By Jennifer Zartman Romano | Talk of the Town - Whitley County
Applications for the 2019 Innovate WithIN™ pitch competition, a statewide initiative hosted by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), Indiana Department of Education (DOE) and Ball State University, are now open to high school students across Indiana. Student teams are invited to submit video pitches online before February 6, 2019, and new to this year's program, middle school students interested in entrepreneurship are invited to register for workshops offered at the regional competitions in early 2019.
"As a state, we're committed to cultivating Indiana's entrepreneurial ecosystem and that effort begins in the classroom," Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. "Through this unique partnership, Innovate WithIN is encouraging Hoosier students to hone their creativity and critical thinking skills to come up with innovative ideas that solve 21st century problems. We're excited to kick off this second annual pitch competition and can't wait to see the game-changing ideas our students develop."
Innovate WithIN™, which is in its second year, gives Hoosier students the opportunity to create their own business plans and showcase entrepreneurial ideas throughout the state. The overall winners of the state competition will each receive a $10,000 cash prize, $10,000 toward one year of in-state tuition, internship opportunities and mentoring services.
Participants are invited to work individually or in small groups to submit an innovative idea for a business, product, service or venture. Students will then receive feedback from experienced professionals while competing against like-minded youth from across Indiana through three rounds:
- Round One: Video pitch submissions due February 6
- Round Two: Regional pitch competitions hosted from March 4 to March 15
- Final Round: State pitch competition for regional finalists hosted in April
After completing video pitches and regional competitions, the finalists from each region will be invited to Indianapolis for the final round of the competition, pitching their ideas to a panel of judges from Indiana's entrepreneurial community.
"The University is proud to partner again this year with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and the Indiana Department of Education on a pitch competition that is bolstering the next generation of entrepreneurs around the state," said Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns. "This association is a natural fit for us because Ball State has long been associated with innovation and entrepreneurship--100 years ago the University was founded by five Ball brothers, who were major industrialists of their time. We were founded by entrepreneurs, and we are now propelled by an innovative, immersive approach to education."
In 2018, the inaugural Innovate WithIN™ competition drew 86 online applications from more than 290 Hoosier students at more than 65 high schools. The overall winners, Colin Wareham and Jackson Ramey from Noblesville High School, created a set of board games called Educaid to help students learn principles like entrepreneurship, marketing and management. Wareham and Ramey, along with the other finalists, received mentoring services through the StartEdUp Foundation, which focuses on engaging students and teachers through innovation and entrepreneurship in the classroom. StartEdUp helped develop and execute the students' ideas through its network of mentors and advisors.
"With great educators at the helm, Indiana classrooms have become incubators for innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit," said Dr. Jennifer McCormick, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction. "The Innovate WithIN pitch competition is an excellent platform for students to showcase their skills. I am proud of our talented students and grateful for the teachers, parents, and communities behind them."
In addition to the pitch competition and mentorship opportunities, the 2019 Innovate WithIN™ pitch competition will expand to middle school students through ideation sessions at the regional competitions. Open to grades six through eight, these students will participate in workshops aimed at fostering entrepreneurial and critical-thinking skills while also introducing them to real-world business concepts.
As part of Governor Holcomb's Next Level Agenda to make Indiana a hub for innovation and develop a 21st century skilled and ready workforce, the state is committed to helping cultivate innovative ideas in the classroom. The Innovate WithIN™ pitch competition fosters an entrepreneurial spirit among our leaders of tomorrow, empowering students to hone their innovative thinking.
Submit applications and learn more about the program at InnovateWithIN.org.