Five Anderson University students recently participated with four other schools in the third annual I-69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge sponsored by the Grant County Economic Growth Council. Other participants included Ball State University, Huntington University, Indiana Wesleyan University, and Taylor University. The purpose of the competition is to encourage entrepreneurship along the I-69 corridor, foster collaborative market solutions through team building, promote cross-pollination, and generate creative ideas. The first I-69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge was held in November of 2006.
“This weekend was a great learning experience. It was a way to great way to take my academic knowledge of business and apply it to a real world situation,” said AU senior Alex Lavold. His team of five students, each from a different school, created an innovative way of teaching kids about healthy living skills through an amusement park. “Determining profitability in such a short time period was difficult, but we were able to create a thorough business plan through our team work.”
Students presented their solutions to a panel of keynote judges from companies such as Bose McKinney Law Firm, Leadership Horizons, Ginovus, Main Street Capital, and the Grant County Affordable Housing Corporation. The winning team was awarded a $500 gold coin for their business idea, Personal Pantry Solutions, a company that uses a query system database and grocery store kiosks to assist people with special dietary needs in finding recipes and food ingredients. The judges selected a winner based on criteria that considered innovation, profitability, and market potential.
“We said beforehand even if we didn’t win, we were so happy with our idea, our team, and our presentation,” said Bethany Masters, the AU student on the winning team.
Each university, Duke Energy, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Indiana Michigan Power, the Grant County Economic Growth Council, and the Innovative Network were the key event sponsors.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,750 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.