Indiana High School Students to Showcase Ideas at Innovate WithIN™ State Finals

INDIANAPOLIS- Eleven teams of Hoosier high school students will gather in Indianapolis on April 4 for the final round of the 2019 Innovate WithIN™ pitch competition, a statewide initiative hosted by the Indiana Economic Develop Corporation (IEDC), Indiana Department of Education and Ball State University.

“Innovate WithIN™ empowers Indiana’s young entrepreneurs to draw upon their creative thinking and problem-solving skills to develop, execute and present an idea for a business, product or venture,” said Elaine Bedel, president of the IEDC. “We’re overwhelmed by the support and encouragement expressed by Hoosier students, parents, school administrators and teachers throughout this process, and can’t wait to watch as our finalists showcase their innovative ideas during the state competition.”

After submitting video pitches for the first round of the competition, more than 65 teams were selected to pitch their entrepreneurial ideas at regional competitions across the state. The nine regional finalists, who each received a $1,000 cash prize and qualified for the state competition, are:

  • LyfePack, led by Cameron Klein, Colten Mouzin and James Hancock at Rivet High School in Vincennes, developed a high-integrated, kevlar backpack that promotes energy efficiency and improves student safety.
    • Region One (Southwest Indiana)
  • Kolt Electronic Solutions. led by Koltan Hauersperger and Brooks Wathen at Jennings County High School in North Vernon, plans to create a power line monitoring system that tracks voltage and detects obstructions and damages.
    • Region Two (Southeast Indiana)
  • Urban Harvest, led by Jesse Kogge at the Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship in Bloomington, plans to utilize indoor hydroponic farms and a vending machine-style distribution system to combat food deserts.
    • Region Three (West Central Indiana – Terra Haute)
  • 3D Printing Filament Waste, led by Steven Bass, Austin Robinson and Daniel Joven at Greenfield – Central High School in Greenfield, developed a cost-effective recycling method for polymers used in 3D printing.
    • Region Four (East Central Indiana)
  • Calm Balm, led by Kaleigh Newton and Allison Santa Rita at Noblesville High School in Noblesville, created and marketed all-natural lip balms utilizing essential oils to relieve stress.
    • Region Five (West Central Indiana – Lafayette)
  • RearVue, led by Andrew Romes, Alex Termini and Faith Spencer at Hobart High School in Hobart, seeks to improve bicycle safety through a distance measurement sensor harnessing LED technology to warn cyclists of approaching vehicles.
    • Region Six (Northwest Indiana)
  • Empathy Easel, led by Kristina Rea at Adams High School in South Bend, designed and packaged custom art kits allowing its customers to express their emotions through artwork.
    • Region Seven (North Central Indiana)
  • Millie & Mabel, led by Lillian Hermann at Manchester Jr.-Sr. High School in Manchester, created a line of homemade jewelry aimed at empowering Hoosier women and helping boost their confidence.
    • Region Eight (Northeast Indiana)
  • Other Side, led by Kailkeyi Paxton and Karissa Nielsen-Baker at Purdue Polytechnic High School in Indianapolis, developed custom office supplies for left-handed individuals.
    • Region Nine (Central Indiana_

New to this year’s program, the runners-up from each region competed in a Wild Card round, which allowed the public to vote for two teams to advance to the state competition. Receiving 2,339 out of the 7,608 total votes, the Wild Card teams are:

  • Student Services, led by Isabel France, James Booth and Kallen Kelsheimer from Wabash High School in Wabash, started a business specializing in lawn care and other services for homeowners in Northeast Indiana.
    • Region Eight (Northeast Indiana)
  • Puma Sips Coffee Shop, led by Zoey Lewis and Dawnyai Jones from Indianapolis Metropolitan High School in Indianapolis, launched an in-school, student-run coffee shop.
    • Region Nine (Central Indiana)

Photos of the regional and Wild Card winners can be found here.

These 11 teams will compete at the 2019 Innovate WithIN™ state competition for the chance to win $10,000 cash prize, $10,000 toward one year of in-state tuition, internship opportunities and mentoring services.

About IEDC
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) leads the state of Indiana’s economic development efforts, helping businesses launch, grow and locate in the state. Governed by a 15-member board chaired by Governor Eric J. Holcomb, the IEDC manages many initiatives, including performance-based tax credits, workforce training grants, innovation and entrepreneurship resources, public infrastructure assistance, and talent attraction and retention efforts. For more information about the IEDC, visit