innovation challenge

Career Academy of South Bend students, Gisselle Villafana, from left, Gabrielle Terrell and Kyaris Hasan present at the 2020 Innovation Challenge at Trine University. The deadline for the 2021 event, which will be held virtually, has been extended to April 2.

ANGOLA — Money and time always seem to be in short supply for entrepreneurs and inventors.

Trine University’s annual Innovation Challenge has provided cash prizes each year to area innovators for their best business and technology ideas. And this year, they have more time to work with.

Trine innovation 1 has extended the deadline for campus and community members to submit projects to April 2, with the event planned for April 15.

“We recognize that many people are still facing disruptions to their work and lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which can make them feel like they don’t have the time to put together the presentation they would like,” said Jason Blume, executive director of Trine innovation 1. “We hope that the extra time will give potential innovators the time they need to refine their products and business ideas.”

Presented by Fifth Third Bank, Greater Indiana, and Trine innovation 1, the challenge, which will be a virtual pitch event this year, offers cash prizes for the top new ideas or improved concepts for business or technology. There is no entry fee.

Competition categories include Best Business Idea as well as the Best Innovation/Invention. Entries in the business category should focus on a new business idea or service. For the innovation/invention category, participants are encouraged to think about technological inventions or advances.

High school and college students as well as community members will have the opportunity for a $3,000 first prize and $1,000 second prize within each category.

Registration for the competition is available at For more information, email Blume at or visit and click on the i1 Challenge link in the navigation menu.

The contest debuted in 2014 and has been financially supported by Fifth Third Bank, Greater Indiana.

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