ANDERSON — High schoolers from across Indiana will have a chance at funding their dream business venture with an upcoming statewide pitch event.
Ball State University and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. are teaming up to offer a one-of-a-kind business pitch competition open to all high school students in the state of Indiana.
The Innovate WithIN competition invites high school innovators with an idea for a business, product, service, technology component or other venture to compete for a $100,000 prize package including scholarships, internships, career mentoring services and cash prizes.
“The prizes for winning the pitch competition are phenomenal,” Brandon Smith, an Innovate WithIN Team member from Ball State University, said in a press release announcing the competition. “The first-place participants at the state level receive $10,000 apiece, one year’s tuition to a state university, an internship, and professional mentoring services.”
There are also cash prizes for second and third place participants.
The venture must include a recurring revenue model demonstrating self-sustainability, according to the contest’s rules, but can be a product, service, platform, or system.
Pitch submissions are due February 13 for teams of one to three high school students and must include a one-page executive summary outlining their venture as well as fill out an online application which can include a slide deck presentation, plus a recorded three- to five-minute pitch.
The top 10 winners of the first round will be announced February 23 and will go on to regional competition.
Whether they pass or not, feedback from judges will be compiled and returned to each team in an effort to encourage them to continue developing the venture.
Candy Dodd, director of special initiatives and divisional planning at Ball State University, is overseeing Region 4, which includes Madison County. She said no county students have applied for the program yet.
The competition, supported by Gov. Eric Holcomb, plans to strengthen and build an environment that enables big ideas to thrive in the state, foster talent that will fuel the growth of those ideas and drive investment capital to take those ideas to market, according to a press release.
“Indiana’s growing list of Hoosier entrepreneurs and innovators continues to show what we have long known: Indiana is a national leader in innovation,” Elaine Bedel, president of the IEDC, said. “To continue our economic momentum, Gov. Holcomb plans to take Indiana to the next level by strengthening and accelerating Hoosier innovation, ensuring Indiana plays a leading role in solving 21st century challenges.”