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Batt wins $500 gold coin at I-69 Innovation Challenge

Huntington, Ind.-Five students, Andrew McGarvey of Taylor University, Spencer Batt of Huntington University, Amber Mohling of Indiana Wesleyan University, Zachary Alexander of Ball State University and Bethany Masters of Anderson University were awarded the $500 gold coin prizes at the 2009 I-69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge for their business idea, Personal Pantry Solutions, a company that uses a query system Internet database and grocery store kiosks to assist people with special dietary needs in finding recipes and food ingredients.

"This was a great experience," said Mohling. "There were definitely very frustrating times, but also celebrating times. I think what helped us was using those frustrating times to encourage us in a better direction instead of getting frustrated."

"We said beforehand even if we didn't win we were so happy with our idea, our team, and our presentation," said Masters.

The winning team was one of five teams that competed at the I-69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge this past weekend at Swan Lake Resort in Plymouth, Ind. The teams consisted of one student from each of the represented universities. Students were placed in teams Friday night after taking a problem-solving assessment, which forced them to collaborate on creating a for-profit business solution to a given social problem dealing with healthy, sustainable lifestyles.

On Saturday, 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 judges selected a winner based on criteria that considered innovation, profitability, and market potential.

The purpose of this 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.

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.

The Grant County Economic Growth Council has a sole mission of facilitating business investment and reinvestment for job retention and creation in Grant County, Indiana. The Growth Council sees entrepreneurship, especially on the college level, as a key part of their mission.