An organizer of the state’s first high school pitch competition says the program will expand. Ball State University Entrepreneurship Center Assistant Director Krystal Geyer says Innovate WithIN, won Monday by a team from Noblesville High School, will add middle schools next year and she expects the number of teams entering to double. The competition is the result of a partnership among Ball State, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and the Indiana Department of Education. It was first announced in November and winners of its inaugural edition shared in prize packages totaling $100,000.
Over 65 high school teams entered this year’s competition, which included online and regional rounds that led up to Tuesday’s final pitch. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Geyer said Innovate WithIN teaches students important lessons. "Entrepreneurship is very vulnerable," she said. "Sharing your idea with a lot of strangers and making sure that they get what you’re trying to sell is really, really difficult, and I think — win, lose or draw — just getting out there and taking that chance is really critical."
Nine finalists from DeKalb, Delaware, Hamilton, Jackson, Jasper, Knox, Marion, St. Joseph and Sullivan counties were selected from an initial video pitch submission and live judging event. The competitors’ goal was to demonstrate a business, product or service concept to "identify Indiana as the best place to start and grow a business or sustain its economic momentum."
Finalists were: Noblesville High School, who won; Adams High School in South Bend and DeKalb High School in Waterloo, who tied for second; Brownstown Central High School in third; and runners-up were Rivet High School in Vincennes, Sullivan High School, a Muncie homeschooler Nate Spell, Kankakee Valley High School in Wheatfield and Arlington Community High School in Indianapolis.
You can connect to more about the competition by clicking here.