10th Annual I-6 Collegiate Innovation Challenge

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Students from 5 Indiana colleges came together to compete in a weekend business plan competition where teams developed for-profit solutions to a chosen social problem.

This is such a great event and it is wonderful that you can share what you all are doing and bring others along to catch that vision!!

The Grant County Economic Growth Council hosted the tenth annual I-69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge on February 10-12 at Plymouth’s Swan Lake Resort. This challenge brings together university students from along the I-69 corridor for a weekend of innovation, problem solving, and entrepreneurship. A total of five teams competed in the challenge. Each team was comprised of a student representative from each participating university. The students were placed into teams Friday afternoon based on the Basadur Creative Profile, a problem-solving assessment, and collaborated for less than 24-hours on a for-profit business solution to the social problem that was selected by the students. The 2017 social problem that the students chose was prison overcrowding.

The participating schools in 2017 were Indiana Wesleyan University, Taylor University, Ivy Tech Community College, Huntington University, and Grace College. Here is a complete list of participating students:

Indiana Wesleyan University:
Kyle Barry
Paxton Singer
Amy Bowman
Kelly Pender
Olivia Rasmussen

Taylor University:
Jackson Wilcox
Sam Petersen
Alicia Garnache
Pablo Ortiz
Ruben Bedon

Ivy Tech Community College:
Carson Adams
Meyantae Johnson
Shana Reff
Joselyn Whipple
Katharine Musick

Huntington University:
Emma Reese
Constanze Goelz
Nathan Hahn
James Couchman
Erin Van Kampen

Grace College:
Emily Guinter
Matthew McNeal
Annette Hammond
Dominic Kimbroug
Abbey Hartwiger.

The Growth Council is proud to announce the competition’s winning team: Kyle Barry of Indiana Wesleyan University; Emma Reese of Huntington University; Emily Guinter of Grace College; Jackson Wilcox of Taylor University; and Carson Adams of Ivy Tech Community College.

In this competition, the groups of students were tasked with creating a for-profit business plan that addresses prison overpopulation. The first place winners were each awarded $500 gift cards for their business concept, “Design Again,” a business solution that utilizes the creativity of former inmates to create design and marketing products for small businesses. “It was great to work with different individuals who all had different strengths and ideas,” shared Kyle Barry of the winning team.

The second place team members each won $250 gift cards for their proposal of “KP Trucking,” a freight moving company that hires, trains, and mentors prisoners after their sentences are served. The team consisted of Paxton Singer, Sam Petersen, Meyantae Johnson, Contstanze Goelz, and Matthew McNeal. The third place team members were awarded $100 gift cards for their idea, “Life Loan,” a career placement and lending organization. The students on this team included Amy Bowman, Alicia Garnache, Shana Reff, Nathan Hahn, and Annette Hammond.

Saturday afternoon, the five teams presented their solutions to a panel of five judges: Matt Tuohy of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation; Iris Hammel, the program director of St. Joe CEO; Charles A. Kennedy of Cambridge Capital Management Corp.; Phil Black of Community Investment Fund of Indiana; and Maggie Phelps of Integrating Woman Leaders Foundation. Following the presentations, the judges selected the winning teams based on criteria that included innovation, profitability, and market potential. After all five of the teams presentations, Maggie Phelps commented on the efforts of the teams by saying, “I was blown away by how knowledgeable the students were, especially considering how little time they had to prepare their plans.”

Susie Ripley of the Office of Community and Rural Affairs said, “This is such a great event and it is wonderful that you can share what you all are doing and bring others along to catch that vision!!”

The purpose of the I-69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge is to encourage entrepreneurship among students along the I-69 corridor, provide networking opportunities for students and judges, generate creative ideas, and allow for collaboration between universities. The Event was sponsored by each participating university, the Grant County Economic Growth Council, and Indiana Michigan Power.

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Tim Eckerle
Grant County Economic Growth Council
+1 (765) 662-0650
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