INnovate Wabash County celebrates student entrepreneurship

INnovate Wabash County celebrates student entrepreneurship Main Photo

9 May 2022

Wabash County, IN  – The Eagles Theatre was a hotbed of innovation and collaboration on Wednesday, May 4, as student entrepreneurs from all over Wabash County took the stage to pitch their business ideas for the 2022 INnovate Wabash County student pitch competition, sponsored by Grow Wabash County as part of the Wabash County High School Entrepreneurship Collaborative.

Over the course of the day, an esteemed panel of business professionals, entrepreneurs and mentors heard a complete slate of business pitches ranging from products to improve day to day life to socially minded programs that supported underprivileged populations.

“Every year the quality of presentations we see from our local students gets better and better,” Keith Gillenwater, president and CEO of Grow Wabash County, said. “This year’s slate of competitors really raised the bar. Not only did these students prove that they had an incredible knowledge of their products and businesses, but they proved that they had the passion and drive to make these ideas a reality. It was truly an incredible experience to be able to see the next generation of business owners step up.”

In fact, the students went so far above and beyond, that in the midst of deliberations, the decision was collectively made by the panel of judges to add a fifth place winner. 

The winning teams were:

  • 5th Place: Just Breathe; an apparatus for runners and athletes to use to carry their inhalers invented by Manchester High School student Paulette Martin
  • 4th place: Freyja, a feminine product subscription program that helps to combat and promote awareness of period poverty run by Wabash High School student Wyatt Buzzard, Cassie Murphy and Jordan Dragoo
  • 3rd place: RapidRoots, a compost subscription and delivery service owned and operated by Wabash High School students Eli Edmond and Coltyn Sellers
  • 2nd place: Eliza Grace, an art and home décor company owned by Heartland Career Center student Annie Schuler
  • 1st place: Tackett Auto Detailing, auto detailing and service business run by Heartland Career Center student Heath Tackett

In addition to winning cash prizes ranging from $2,000 to $250 the top three competition winners also received vouchers to attend Ivy Tech Community College. First place will have tuition covered for up to two years at Ivy Tech, second place received free tuition for one year and third place received free tuition for one semester.

All students that presented during the pitch competition also received a Manchester University Experience Awards good for $500 scholarship per year.

Grow Wabash County is grateful for the many partners that have helped make entrepreneurship a priority in Wabash County’s schools, including the Don Wood Foundation, which provided grant funding to cover costs for the 2022 event. Grow Wabash County is excited to see what’s next for these young innovators and the future of the Wabash County business community.

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