'Design Again' Wins I-69 Innovation Challenge

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The winning team took home $500 gift cards for their "Design Again" proposal. The winning team took home $500 gift cards for their "Design Again" proposal.

A business concept aimed at tapping into the creativity of former inmates took home the top prize in the I-69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge. The goal of the event is for teams to come up with a for-profit business solution aimed at solving a social problem.

The Grant County Economic Growth Council says each student member of the "Design Again" team won a $500 gift card for finishing first in the competition. The "Design Again" concept leverages the creativity of former inmates to create design and marketing products for small businesses, according to the Grant County organization.

The Innovation Challenge featured five teams of students with each team consisting of a representative from five participating Hoosier universities. The "Design Again" team included 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.

The members of the second place team each won $250 gift cards for their proposal, "KP Trucking," a freight moving company that hires, trains and mentors prisoners upon release. The third place team took home $100 gift cards for their proposal for a career placement and lending organization known as "Life Loan."

The students were placed in teams and had less than 24 hours to come up with their business concept before presenting to a panel of five judges. Maggie Phelps of Integrating Woman Leaders Foundation, who served as one of the judges, said, "I was blown away by how knowledgeable the students were, especially considering how little time they had to prepare their plans."

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