MARION – The Grant County Economic Growth Council celebrated its eighth annual I-69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge Friday through Sunday with 20 students from Anderson, Huntington, Indiana Wesleyan and Taylor Universities.
The Challenge took place at the Swan Lake Resort in Plymouth. Students were awarded an iPad Air and smart cover for first place, $100 certificate for second place and $50 for third place.
Indiana Wesleyan University student Brittany Hartwiger participated in a team that pitched “Game Plan Innovations,” a venture capital firm that equips professional athletes after retirement.
“This event helped me develop teambuilding skills,” she noted of the innovation competition. Hartwiger is a senior at Indiana Wesleyan University studying marketing and entrepreneurship.
She is the daughter of Bob and Amie Hartwiger, Warsaw.
Her team was one of five that competed at the I-69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge this past weekend. Each team was made up of one student representative from each of the participating universities. 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 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 Grant County Economic Growth Council’s 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.