March 5, 2012
News Release - From Inside Indiana Business
Columbus, IN – Over the past weekend 20 finalists from seven counties in Southeastern Indiana presented their ideas for a chance at winning $10,000 as part of the next-generation youth entrepreneurship initiative known as the Maverick Challenge.
The Maverick Challenge program is designed to give high school entrepreneurs hands-on experience in the practice of entrepreneurship. Counties who participated this year include Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, and Scott. Since its inception in 2008 over 450 students have participated in the program and more than $40,000 has been awarded.
“This is a great program that really encourages our young people to think outside the box and explore opportunities in our free market environment,” stated Don Horan a judge for the Challenge. “As a judge I was impressed with the great ideas, business plans and presentations our young entrepreneurs brought to the regional event. Congratulations to all the participants and our winners on a job well done.”
This year’s winners presented three unique ideas. Morgan Tomson, a junior from South Decatur High School, was awarded $3,500 for her idea Tomson Cattle. Her innovative plan was to combine embryo transfer work and artificial insemination for cattle with traditional agriculture and offer an on-site facility for housing and providing donor cattle services.
Dillon Shaffer, a junior from Columbus North High School, was awarded $2,500 for his creative way of providing organic chicken to customers through his business Healthy Hens. Brownstown High School seniors Hunter Davidson and Tyler Bishop also received $1,000 for their innovative way of providing customers frozen yogurt-to-go through a vending machine format with their business For-Yo-To-Go.
Maverick Challenge Regional Coordinator and Enterprise Columbus Director Amber Fischvogt stated, “This is a way for us to spotlight the young innovators we have in our region. It’s also a great opportunity to reach out to students and teach them about innovation while exposing them to viable career opportunities through entrepreneurship.”
Students through out the Challenge have access to workshops and online tools needed to take their idea from a concept and develop it into a full business plan. Students submit these plans which then go through multiple rounds of judging at both the county and regional level. Finalists present their plans to a panel of regional judges consisting of entrepreneurs, service providers, educational representatives, and other community leaders. All finalists will receive a cash prize for their hard work and effort in developing an idea and attempting to take it to the next level.
2011 Maverick Challenge Winners
Regional Partners for the Maverick Challenge include: Brownstown Chamber of Commerce, Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, Community Education Coalition, Economic Opportunities 2015, Economic Development Partners of Jefferson County, Enterprise Columbus, Greensburg Chamber of Commerce, Jackson County Industrial Development Corporation, Jennings County Economic Development, IUPUC, Main Street Greensburg, Mid-America Science Park, Seymour Chamber of Commerce, Southeastern Indiana SBDC, and Werling Charitable Foundation.
The Maverick Challenge aims to further develop the innovative spirit of Indiana by reaching out to high school students and showing them viable career opportunities through entrepreneurship. It was started in 2008 by the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise Columbus. Since then over 450 students from more than 15 high schools across seven counties have participated in the Challenge and over $40,000 has been awarded to students.
Source: Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce