A round of local "elevator pitch" competitions, part of IVC’s Incubicity initiative, will be held next month at various locations throughout north central Indiana where potential entrepreneurs will have two minutes to explain their ideas and how they would build businesses around them.
Indiana has long been known for growing successful business ideas. The Indiana Venture Center is offering a total of $64,500 in cash prizes in an effort to find the next big one.
A round of local "elevator pitch" competitions, part of IVC’s Incubicity initiative, will be held next month at various locations throughout north central Indiana where potential entrepreneurs will have two minutes to explain their ideas and how they would build businesses around them. The person with the top idea from each county will win $1,000 and have a chance to work on his or her idea with professional entrepreneurs. Those winners then will get to re-pitch their ideas at a regional business plan competition May 2 for a shot at $25,000. Second- and third-place ideas will receive $500 and $250 respectively in the elevator pitch contest, and will also have a chance to compete in the regional competition.
"We feel strongly about Incubicity because we know the best ideas come not from corporate market studies, but from people looking for ways to improve the way they live," said Pat Bacon, program director for the IVC.
Local entrepreneur Ralph Braun is a good example. In 1963, he invented the first three-wheeled motorized wheelchair in Winamac, Ind., to help him get around after learning he had spinal muscular atrophy. Later he developed the first vehicle wheelchair lift and turned these personal solutions into what is now the Braun Corporation.
"Sometimes when I look around at what we’ve done at The Braun Corporation and how many lives we’ve touched, it’s hard to imagine it all started with a young man trying to overcome a personal challenge," Braun said. "Lives have been changed because someone had the courage to take a risk on what seemed like a simple idea at the time. I hope the next would-be entrepreneur has the courage to step up and do something with their idea. Who knows what might happen?"
Registration deadline extended
The registration deadline for the elevator pitch competitions has been extended to Jan. 25. The competition is free and open to anyone 18 or older who lives or owns a business in Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Montgomery, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Wabash, Warren and White counties.