The Grant County Economic Growth Council hosted the eighth annual I-69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge on February 14-16 at Plymouth’s Swan Lake Resort and announces the competition’s winning team: Alexandra Ackley-Morse of Indiana Wesleyan University; Isaiah Stephenson of Huntington University; Allison Boyle of Anderson University; and Nathaniel Read of Taylor University.
The first place winners were each awarded an iPad air and smart cover for their business concept, “Connective,” an innovative placement firm that infiltrates small universities to link students with hiring companies. The second place team members each won $100 gift cards for their proposal of “Educational Financing,” a literacy program for employees of targeted large companies. The third place team members were awarded $50 gift cards for their idea, “Impact Source: Gateway to Growth,” a payroll outsourcing service.
A total of five teams competed in the Growth Council’s I-69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge. Each team was comprised of a student representative from each participating university. “I liked that the event wasn’t about the schools competing, but rather about bringing students from different schools together to solve a problem,” shared Allison Boyle of the winning team. 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 a social problem selected by the students. This year’s social problem was unemployment and education with a focus on financial literacy.
Saturday afternoon, the five teams presented their solutions to a panel of five judges: Robert Clark of Elevate Ventures; Adam Hoeksema of Flagship; Charles A. Kennedy of Cambridge Capital Management Corp.; Erika Mower of Christen Souers; and Jill Spiess of General Motors. Following the presentations, the judges selected the winning teams based on criteria that included innovation, profitability, and market potential.
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 Grant County Economic Growth Council’s event was sponsored by: the participating universities, Duke Energy, Indiana Michigan Power, Indiana Municipal Power Agency, Vectren, and Wal-Mart.