“The Innovation Challenge allows us to support entrepreneurs and small business owners, both of which are the backbone to a strong economy.”

Kevin Hipskind, market president for Fifth Third Bank in Central and Northeast Indiana

Everyone invited to see best new ideas
in technology, business on display

By Catherine E. Porter
marketing and communication major ’16

The second annual Trine University Innovation Challenge presented by Fifth Third Bank, Greater Indiana, will conclude with a public expo in April.

The Innovation Challenge aims to find the best new concepts in technology and business. After accepting applications from January to March 8, a panel of judges selected 20 finalists from over 40 submissions to display their projects at the expo. Entries range from projects focusing on health and fitness to mobile apps.

“We’re eager for visitors to see the creative ideas and projects that have been presented,” said Jason Blume, executive director of Innovation One. “We’ll also get an update from one of the winners of the inaugural contest. It’s exciting to see the progress in developing a winning idea into reality.”

“The Innovation Challenge allows us to support entrepreneurs and small business owners, both of which are the backbone to a strong economy,” said Kevin Hipskind, market president for Fifth Third Bank in Central and Northeast Indiana. “We’re proud to be associated with the great ideas that come from this challenge, and we look forward to sharing them with the community at the awards ceremony.”

The public innovation expo will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 11, in the Rick L. and Vicki L. James University Center at Trine University. The event is free.

The activities start with an open house from 8 a.m. to noon in the University Center Mall where the finalists will display their ideas to the public. Winners will be revealed during an awards ceremony at 1 p.m. in the University Center, Fabiani Theatre.

During the awards ceremony, the audience will be updated on the progress of last year’s Innovation Challenge winner, Gifts Utopia. Ben Clark, CEO of the web-based gift selection program, will speak about the new business’s accomplishments. Clark is a 2014 Trine graduate.

John Milner, regional manager at Fifth Third Bank, Greater Indiana, will present awards during the ceremony.

Unrestricted cash prizes will be awarded for first through third place in each category. First place winners will take home $2,500, with a $1,000 prize for second and $500 for third. Prizes will also be given for Best High School Entry, Best University Entry and Best Community Entry.

The Innovation Challenge, introduced in 2014, is open to students and residents of Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. Awards and scholarships are funded by a $100,000 gift from Fifth Third Bank, Greater Indiana.

The April 11 expo event and awards ceremony are free. Everyone is welcome to come and see the latest innovations from Trine students and the community.