M2020 Spark Tank Awards Millennials Seed Funding for Projects

March 18th, 2013

For Immediate Release:
March 18, 2013

M2020 Spark Tank Awards Millennials Seed Funding for Projects

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to make a difference in the community are alive and well in Northeast Indiana Millennials (roughly between the ages of 15 - 25). Attendees at Fridays Millennial 2020 (M2020) Spark Tank spent the day sharing their ideas and making plans to bring them to life. IMG_1168 resized

More than 60 high school Millennials participated in the all-day event at the Kendallville Event Center. Spark Tank provided Millennials with an opportunity to explore their ideas on how to spark change in Northeast Indiana and pitch their ideas to regional leaders. Throughout the day, Millennials discussed ideas ranging from after school performing arts activities to an electronic chip inserted into a basketball to automatically stop the clock when the ball goes out of play. At the end of the day, two teams were awarded $500 in seed funding to advance their ideas.

The for-profit winning team, Keep It Simple, plans to develop a one-stop shopping website where users can go to purchase clothing from Northeast Indiana designers. Marc Musselman, a sophomore at East Noble High School, led the group of seven people in their presentation to the panel of judges. "People can't find what they want in one place anymore," Musselman said. "We'd like to showcase local clothing lines, and once we're up and running, we hope to have designers such as O'Fabz Swimwear, who has already expressed interest, on our website."

The non-profit team to receive seed funding called themselves the Trash Titans. The Angola High School students, led by sophomore Maria Clemens, vowed to clean up Northeast Indiana lakes. Floatable trash cans and even an Adopt a Sandbar concept were developed at Friday's M2020 Spark Tank. "Here at Spark Tank," Clemens began, "I learned that contributing to the community and giving back is something everyone will benefit from."

Keynote speaker Katy Silliman, executive director of the Northeast Indiana Fund, the supporting organization of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, advised participants to give back to their communities however they saw fit. Silliman spoke to Spark Tank participants about how Millennial community involvement is vital, and by participating in Friday's M2020 Spark Tank event, they are all taking a step in the right direction in helping change Northeast Indiana's future.

Millennial 2020 Coordinator Jordan McArdle said, "Spark Tank is a unique opportunity for Millennials to express their ideas for changing Northeast Indiana and gain insight from their peers and regional leaders. As Friday proved, the Millennial generation consists of bright, creative and enthusiastic individuals who are committed to improving their community. We look forward to following the projects that came out of the event and tracking their progress as the groups implement the plans they formed."

The event was hosted by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership's Millennial 2020 program in conjunction with Noble Vision of Noble County.

Millennial 2020 is an extension of Vision 2020, a regional initiative stewarded by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, working to transform Northeast Indiana through the five pillars of 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure, and Quality of Life. Millennial 2020 gives Millennials an active voice and role in Vision 2020 and directly aligns with Vision 2020's mission for Northeast Indiana of developing, attracting, and retaining talent.

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was formed in 2006 to help build a globally competitive economy in Northeast Indiana. It is a public-private partnership focused on generating business leads and building regional capacity through product development and effective regional collaboration. The Northeast Indiana Fund was created in 2005 to operate as a supporting organization of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, focused specifically on product development and regional collaboration. In 2010, the Partnership launched Vision 2020 to bring the region together around key areas for economic growth. Through its combined efforts in business development and capacity building, the Partnership supports its 10 member counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties. For more information, visit www.NEIndiana.com.

Photo: Spark Tank participants work together to finalize their idea before presenting to the panel of judges.



Courtney Tritch
Marketing Director
Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership

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