NWI high school teams earn honors at Innovate WithIN • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine
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NWI high school teams earn honors at Innovate WithIN

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Teams from Northwest Indiana earned several honors during the 2024 Innovate WithIN State Finals on June 21 in Indianapolis.

Innovate WithIN is presented by the STARTedUP Foundation.

“Each year it just keeps getting bigger and better. And throughout this competition, I keep getting compliments where people say ‘I didn't know they'd be this good’,” said Don Wettrick, CEO of the STARTedUP Foundation, in a press release. “Well, they are this good. Each year these students blow our judges and audiences away. We're beyond excited to have their hard work be showcased.”

SafetyGlow, a team from Hanover Central High School in Cedar Lake, won second place overall. The SafetyGlow team includes Ashton Verbish. This product helps drivers spot trucks that have broken down. It earned $5,000 in funding, along with 25 hours of service from 5 and Rise Marketing Solutions.

Wringo, a team from Munster High School, won the People’s Choice Award. It also brought home $1,500. The Wringo team includes Connor Gomez, Ameen Musleh and Vasili Papageorge. Their product helps people suffering from hyperhidrosis, a condition that causes excessive sweating.

“It's invigorating, encouraging and inspiring to hear firsthand from young entrepreneurs who are proving that age really doesn't matter when you see a problem,” said Gov. Eric Holcomb. “I love the high expectations they have of themselves … These students all over Indiana are contributing to our economy, so I'm glad that this continues to grow entrepreneurship in Indiana at every age, and that the state is not just placing a premium on it, but we're putting our money behind our mouth and supporting it.”

Caseflood.ai, launched by Ethan Hilton, Emily Rudolph, and Tolen Schreid from Signature School in Evansville earned 1st place and $25,000 in funding from the Buckingham Foundation, $10,000 each toward a 529 education fund, 50 hours of marketing services from 5 and Rise Marketing Solutions, along with potential scholarship offers from STARTedUP’s university partners. Caseflood.ai is a took for lawyers to qualify leads.

“Northwest Indiana did really well at Innovate WithIN again this year,” said Jason Williams, chief executive officer of The Society of Innovators at Purdue Northwest.

The Society hosted Innovate WithIN’s Region 4 Northwest Indiana Finals in April. Finalists attended a six-week bootcamp before they participated in state finals.

Caption: Jason Williams of the Society of Innovators poses with 2024 Innovate WithIN state winners Ashton Verbish, who won second overall for his SafetyGlow idea, and (from left) Ameen Musleh, Connor Gomez and Vasili Papageorge won the People’s Choice Award for their Wringo idea. (Provided by Jason Williams)

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