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Students invited to pitch innovative ideas in statewide competition

Applications for the 2020 Innovate WithIN pitch competition, a statewide initiative hosted by the Indiana Economic Development Corp., Indiana Dept. of Education, Ball State University and STARTedUP Foundation, are open to high school students throughout Indiana. Student teams are invited to submit video pitches online before Feb. 7, and middle school students interested in entrepreneurship are invited to register for workshops offered at the regional competitions in early 2020.

“Competitions like Innovate WithIN not only grow Indiana’s culture of innovation, but also empower our students to cultivate their entrepreneurial ideas in the classroom,” Gov. Eric J. Holcomb said. “Through its unique partnership, Innovate WithIN is encouraging young Hoosiers to hone their creativity and critical thinking skills to come up with innovative solutions to 21st century problems. We’re excited to kick off the third annual pitch competition and can’t wait to see the game-changing ideas our students develop.”

Innovate WithIN, which is in its third year, gives Hoosier students the opportunity to create their own business plans and showcase entrepreneurial ideas throughout the state. The overall winners of the state competition will each receive a $10,000 cash prize, $10,000 toward one year of in-state tuition, internship opportunities and mentoring services.

Participants are invited to work individually or in small groups to submit an innovative idea for a business, product, service or venture. Students will then receive feedback from experienced professionals while competing against like-minded youth from throughout Indiana in three rounds:

• Round One — Video pitch submissions due Feb. 7.

• Round Two — Regional pitch competitions hosted from March 2 to 13.

• Final Round — State pitch competition for regional finalists hosted in April.

After completing video pitches and regional competitions, the finalists from each region will be invited to Indianapolis for the final round of the competition, pitching their ideas to a panel of judges from Indiana’s entrepreneurial community. In 2019, Innovate WithIN drew 158 online applications from 422 Hoosier students at 88 high schools.

“Ball State University is proud to partner with the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and the Indiana Dept. of Education and STARTedUP on Innovate WithIN,” said Geoffrey S. Mearns, Ball State’s president. “This partnership encourages innovation, one of our university’s enduring values. Since our founding in 1918 by a family of entrepreneurs, our university has been at the forefront of educating innovative, courageous leaders who have helped the state achieve economic success. This initiative helps set the next generation of entrepreneurs on a trajectory toward fulfilling careers and meaningful lives.”