INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosier high school students are being invited to make their pitch of entrepreneurial, innovative business ideas.
Applications are now open to high school students across Indiana for the 2021 Innovate WithIN pitch competition, a statewide initiative hosted by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and the STARTedUP Foundation. Student teams are encouraged to submit video pitches before Feb. 28.
"Innovate WithIN gets Hoosier students plugged in to Indiana's thriving and engaged entrepreneurial community," Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement. "This program fosters a pioneering spirit among our leaders of tomorrow, and every year I'm amazed by the innovative ideas these students pitch and the hard work they put into their business plans."
The program is in its fourth year and gives Hoosier students the opportunity to create their own business plans and showcase entrepreneurial ideas through the state. The overall winners of the state competition will receive a $10,000 cash prize, $10,000 toward one year of in-state tuition, college scholarship award opportunities, internship opportunities, mentoring services and more.
Participants may work individually or in small groups to submit an innovative idea for a business, product, service or venture. Students will receive feedback from experienced professionals while competing against like-minded youth from across Indiana through three rounds.
In the first round, video pitch submissions are due Feb. 28. Virtual regional pitch competitions will be hosted from April 19 to April 30 for the second round. The final round will be a state pitch competition for regional finalists hosted in June.
A new element this year is that all participating students will have access to a brief, online companion course and regional winners will participate in a virtual bootcamp to help students hone their idea and prepare for their state pitch presentations. Regional winners will also receive guided counseling from the Indiana Small Business Development Center to help refine their business model and pitch, and receive no-cost market research.
Last year's competition drew 152 online applications from 419 Hoosier students at 50 high schools.
Students can submit applications and learn more about the program online.