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STARTedUP Foundation, Purdue Announce Pitch Competition Regional Qualifiers - Eleven teams to compete for a spot in the Innovate WithIN State Finals

West Lafayette, Indiana - With nearly 2,500 statewide sign ups, the STARTedUP Foundation’s Innovate WithIN program is the largest high school pitch competition in the country. During the month of April, 52 teams across Indiana will be competing at Purdue to qualify for the state competition with the top two teams from each region progressing onto state.

“In addition to having another record-breaking year, we have seen such an improvement in the student’s pitches and heard from educators of how they have seen a mindset shift in their classrooms,” says Don Wettrick, co-founder and CEO of the STARTedUP Foundation. “When you bring a mindset of innovation into the classroom, things change for students. These young people are able to visualize real-world opportunities and are challenged to explore their own entrepreneurial passions.”

On April 26th, eleven student teams will be competing in the Region 2 competition hosted by Purdue University’s Purdue Innovates and Purdue’s business school, who have removed barriers for students to attend their school by making connections within their university and community.

“Purdue is easily one of the best schools in the world to be an entrepreneur,” says A.J. Frigo, director of undergraduate recruitment at the business school. “With the third-most startups of any school in the U.S. and the sixth-most utility patents of any school in the world, Purdue is a beacon for entrepreneurial minds. Some of the best and brightest in the nation are coming from Indiana through the Innovate WithIN Pitch Competition. It only makes sense that the business school at Purdue University co-sponsors this incredible event.”

“We see the Innovate WithIN pitch competition as an opportunity to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators,” adds Arnold Chen, managing director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. “By sponsoring this event, Purdue is investing in the future of Indiana and creating a pipeline of talent that will drive economic growth and innovation in our state.”

In addition to the relational opportunities offered by the business school and Purdue Innovates, students are connected to business and civic leaders who also have a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship, especially as they look ahead to growing their future workforce ecosystem. Unique to Region 2, an additional team from one of the many IPS Schools was selected by Elevate Ventures to receive additional funding to grow their business.

“Elevate Ventures is always looking for ways to continue supporting and growing young entrepreneurs,” says Titi Obasanya, Central Indiana Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Elevate Ventures. “The Innovate WithIN pitch competition is a great way to begin introducing young people to the world of business and entrepreneurship and we are proud to play a role in that process.”

Individuals from across the state are invited to attend their local competition and experience these impressive student pitches. Residents may join us in person on April 26th at Purdue University’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship from 8:00AM - 1:00PM EST or attend virtually. More details and registration information can be found at

The Region 2 participating teams are as follows:


Tumim Gebrewold, Speedway Senior High School


Kaden Barnhart, Zionsville Community High School

Diego Tangassi, Zionsville Community High School


Kieron Bishop, Herron High School

Liam Green, Herron High School

Leland Rowe, Herron High School

Cancer Catch

Suhani Lodha, Carmel High School

Jacqueline Roth, Carmel High School

Clean Line

Nathan Dierckman, Carmel High School

Makayla Phillips, Carmel High School


Samuel Landers, Noblesville High School

Elysia Uggen, Noblesville High School


Amogha Paleru, Carmel High School

Matthew Rao, Carmel High School

Pinpoint Toothpaste

Jack Kazmierczak, Carmel High School

Ready Set Go

Tylar Simpkiss, Carmel High School

Rooted Plastic

Gabriel Landin, Terre Haute North Vigo High School

Zachary McCammon, Terre Haute North Vigo High School

Justin Spencer, Terre Haute North Vigo High School

Uptown Gardens

Neva Verbik, Avon High School