Five Grace College business students participated in the tenth annual I-69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge Feb. 10 and 11. The event, hosted by the Grant County Economic Growth Council, took place at the Swan Lake Resort in Plymouth, Ind. Students from Huntington University, Ivy Tech Community College, Taylor University and Indiana Wesleyan University also participated.
The I-69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge brings together university students from along the I-69 corridor for a weekend of innovation, problem solving and entrepreneurship. Five teams competed in the challenge; each team was comprised of a student representative from each participating university. The students were placed into teams Friday afternoon and collaborated for less than 24-hours on a for-profit business solution to the social problem that was selected by the students. The 2017 social problem that the students choose was prison overcrowding.
“This is the second year Grace has participated in the I-69 challenge,” said Al Grossnickle, associate professor of business at Grace College and director of the William P. Gordon Institute for Enterprise Development. “We are proud of our students. They put in a lot of effort and creativity, and it paid off.”
The 2017 winning team included Emily Guinter of Grace College; Kyle Barry of Indiana Wesleyan University; Emma Reese of Huntington University; Jackson Wilcox of Taylor University; and Carson Adams of Ivy Tech Community College. Each student was awarded $500 in gift cards for their business concept, “Design Again,” a business solution that utilizes the creativity of former inmates to produce and market products for small businesses.
The second place team included Matthew McNeal from Grace College. Each member of the second place team won $250 in gift cards for creating “KP Trucking,” a freight moving company that hires, trains and mentors prisoners after their sentences are served. Members of the third place team, including Annette Hammond from Grace, won $100 for creating “Life Loan,” a career-placement and lending organization.
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 event was sponsored by each participating university, the Grant County Economic Growth Council, and Indiana Michigan Power.