The state’s inaugural high school pitch competition is in the books and a team of students from Noblesville High School has taken the top prize. Educaid, which created board games designed to help Hoosier students learn business concepts such as marketing and management, beat eight other finalists to win $10,000, one year of college tuition, mentoring services and internship opportunities. Students from more than 65 high schools submitted applications for the competition.
All of the finalists will receive one year of mentoring services through the StartEdUp Foundation, which will create an accelerator program to help the finalists develop and execute their ideas. They will receive access to coworking spaces and the company’s network of mentors and advisors from throughout the entrepreneurship community in Indiana.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Innovate WithIN Project Manager Candy Dodd said the goal of the competition is to empower students.
She says she hopes the competition shows the students "that they can start from nothing and become something great, become our next generation leaders in economic development growth across the state. We want them to state within the state of Indiana. We want them to grow their business here."
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. partnered with Ball State University to launch the competition. The IEDC says students were asked to submit video pitches for a business, product or service that "helps identify Indiana as the best place to start and grow a business or sustain its economic momentum. The top 10 from each region advanced to the second round where they made live pitches in front of judges. The field was then narrowed down to nine finalists, representing DeKalb, Delaware, Hamilton, Jackson, Jasper, Knox, Marion, St. Joseph and Sullivan counties.
Two teams tied for second place: NetWork from Adams High School in South Bend and Mini Mammals from DeKalb High School in Waterloo. Each team received $2,500. Third place and $1,500 went to Romantique from Brownstown Central High School.
The remaining finalists were honored with certificates of achievement. They include:
- Heat It, Rivet High School in Vincennes;
- On the Road Mobile Mechanics, Sullivan High School in Sullivan;
- Them University, led by Nate Spell, a homeschooled student in Muncie;
- V&T Marketing, Kankakee Valley High School in Wheatfield
- Guard Me Gear, Arlington Community High School in Indianapolis.
The panel of judges that determined the winners included IEDC President Elaine Bedel, IEDC Chief Innovation Officer Dave Roberts, Fishers-based ClearObject CEO John McDonald, Thompson Distribution Co. CEO John Thompson, Ball State Entrepreneurship Center Assistant Director Krystal Geyer and Innovation Connector Executive Director Ted Baker.