Innovate WithIN™, a statewide high school pitch competition went virtual. The competition, which offers up to $100,000 in cash prizes, mentorship opportunities and in-state college tuition assistance, was too important to simply cancel.
“After hosting eight of the nine regional finals, we felt that the students worked too hard to simply cancel the event,” said Candy Dodd, who is project manager for the competition. “We really felt that they deserved the prize money for these amazing entrepreneurial ideas.”
Over 250 students from 50 high schools around Indiana participated in Round 1 of the pitch competition and 150 teams submitted video pitches. The regional finals were held in the first two weeks of March, but
the last regional event was called off due to the outbreak of COVID-19. At that point the Innovate WithIN™ committee decided to host the final regional competition online.
“As a state, we’re focused on giving Hoosier students the tools and resources they need to cultivate their entrepreneurial ideas – whether at home or in the classroom,” said David Roberts, chief innovation officer of the IEDC. “By shifting to an online format, we encouraged the Innovate WithIN state finalists to refine their pitches and hone their critical thinking skills in order to virtually present to our judges, while also maintaining the good social distancing practices that are needed to keep Hoosiers safe and support efforts to flatten the curve for COVID-19 in Indiana.”
Participants families, schools, and others were able to watch the livestream as each made their pitch for the top prize of $10,000 in cash, $10,000 in college tuition for any college or university in Indiana. The event was held on April 8th, as planned and the winners were announced.
First Place: $10,000, 1st Year College Tuition Scholarship (State School), Internship and Mentorship Company - AM Therapeutics (The Remedy Glove) Team - Megan Jones, Joshua Breitsprecher, Abigale Haluska School - Hobart High School
Equipped with vibration, compression, and heating features, The Remedy Glove is a revolutionary form of therapy. Furthermore, The Remedy Glove combines affordability with accessibility, making it the ultimate choice for individuals with arthritis.
Second Place: $2,500
Company - Trifecta Sports Solutions
Team - Jerry Fuller and William Hall
School - Hobart High School
The mission of Trifecta Sports Solutions is to make high school football safer. We developed an innovation directed towards contact sports, more specifically football. Our goal is to make a helmet that not only is safer but also more comfortable than what is out on the market today.
Third Place (tie): $1,500 Company - ConnectU
Team - Amanda Packard, Nick Williamson, Brynn Eaton
School - Noblesville High School
ConnectU gives independence back to those that use mobility devices such as canes and crutches. The ConnectU gives users the ability to ascend and descend stairs by connecting their canes or crutches in a way that allows for both the use of a walking device along with the railing. With two palm sized pieces that can easily attach to both canes and crutches one
has the ability to become more independent.
Third Place (tie): $1,500
Company - O2Go
Team – Gigi Dreyer, Alexa Miles, Kathryn Wilder
School - Oldenburg Academy
We have developed a product that will greatly increase mobility and convenience for users of supplemental oxygen. Since the healthcare industry prioritizes convenience our O2GO has a massive opportunity for success.
Company - Aquapon LLC
Team – Michael Clay Camp
School – Seymour High School
Aquapon has designed, and created, a method of growing plants using one of the oldest farming techniques. Aquapon will use an aquaponics-based system, with our intellectual property, that requires no pesticides, or modifications, to grow foods. To remove the high cost of water, the system will run on two high capacity deep wells. Fish within the system will
be feed only foods that are certified organic and non-GMO. This will allow Aquapon to sell as organic in both the fish and produce market. The system is a closed system meaning that there are very few factors that can affect the growth of both fish and plants.
Innovate WithIN™ is hosted by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), Indiana Department of Education, Ball State University and STARTedUP Foundation. In partnership with the IEDC, STARTedUP will create an immersive student accelerator program for the Innovate WithIN™ state finalists, helping them develop and execute their ideas, as well as, providing access to the company’s network of mentors and advisers.
“We had a great immersion trip itinerary for this year’s finalists, but we simply cannot verify, without further understanding of the duration and impact of the COVID-19 virus, if the summer travel/immersion trip will be held,” said Don Wettrick, President of the STARTedUP Foundation. “However, we are excited to work with the teams to help them actually launch. We enjoy working with the teams to cross over from 'idea' to launching an actual business.”