The Innovation Challenge presented each year by Fifth Third Bank, Greater Indiana, and Trine Innovation 1 at Trine University in Angola has added competitions at the middle school and high school level.

The pitch competition for innovations and businesses will accept entries through mid-January. Contestants will deliver pitches, judges will evaluate them and officials will present awards to winners Feb. 19 and 21.

“Opening the competition to middle and high school students gives future entrepreneurs the opportunity to begin developing the skills and tools they need to be successful,” Jason Blume, executive director of Trine Innovation 1, said in an announcement.

“It also helps them to get them over the fear of failure and the fears associated with developing and presenting a unique project,” he said.

“We help them grasp that it’s good to dream and attempt to develop an idea even if you don’t succeed, something that is harder to learn as an adult.”

Contestants are encouraged to come up with a new type of business or service for the competition’s business category and to think about technological advances for the invention/innovation category.

Middle school division prizes are $700 for first place, $300 for second and $100 for third. High school division prizes are $2,000 for first and $1,000 for second. Adult division prizes for college students and community members are $3,000 for first and $1,000 for second.

The registration deadline is Jan. 13 for the first two divisions and Jan. 20 for the third. Pitches, judging and award presentations will take place Feb. 19 for the first two divisions and Feb. 21 for the third.

More information on the competition is available at

Harris awarded $20 million prototype contract

The Missile Defense Agency at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado has awarded the Fort Wayne operations of Harris Corp. a $20 million firm-fixed-price prototype contract.

Under the contract Harris will provide the agency’s Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor Program with a prototype payload design and signal-chain processing risk reduction demonstration by Oct. 31, 2020.

A dozen proposals were submitted after bids were solicited competitively through a Space and Missile Systems Center and Advanced Technology International agreement was reached for that.

Awards similar to the Harris contract went to Raytheon Co. operations in El Segundo, California; Leidos Inc. operations in Reston, Virginia, and Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. operations in Azusa, California.

PFW announces credit transfer agreement

Students of Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan, 20 miles north of Detroit may transfer associate of applied science degrees in information technology, health or business toward bachelor of applied science degrees at Purdue University Fort Wayne.

“This is a game changer in efforts to simplify and streamline bachelor-degree completion for Macomb Community College students,” Don Ritzenhein, provost and vice president for the learning unit at Macomb Community College, said in a Nov. 6 announcement.

“Directly recognizing and accepting whole associate degree programs represents a philosophy and a partnership wholly focused on students and their success. We appreciate the authentic commitment of Purdue Fort Wayne in meaningfully positioning Macomb students to earn their bachelor’s degree.”

Macomb students will be allowed to transfer up to 88 credits toward a Purdue Fort Wayne bachelor’s degree, the announcement said.

They must complete at least 32 PFW credits to earn a bachelor’s degree from the university but don’t need to do it in the Summit City if they satisfy the requirement with credits earned through online courses.

“We are excited to enter into this partnership that provides opportunities for graduates of technical programs at Macomb Community College to complete their undergraduate education with a Purdue University degree,” Carl Drummond, PFW vice chancellor for academic affairs and enrollment management, said in the announcement.

“This is just one more step in our efforts to make completing a bachelor’s degree more convenient for our students. We look forward to welcoming our new online Mastodons.”

Purdue Fort Wayne will start accepting the credit transfers next spring from Macomb students who qualify for them.

Become seasoned with social media use

Sarah Arnold, CEO of the Fort Wayne-based SociallySeasoned digital marketing agency, will walk her audience through the basics of social media for entrepreneurs during an Elevate Ventures event next month at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center.

Arnold, who made Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly‘s 2019 Forty Under 40 list of local young leaders on the rise, earned her master’s degree in communications and leadership studies from Gonzaga University.

In addition to the agency she owns and operates, she has spent her career in the marketing industry and as an adjunct faculty member with Indiana Wesleyan University.

During her noon presentation Dec. 4 at the Innovation Center, 3201 Stellhorn Road, she will describe the differences and importance of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn in the context of:

• Social media strategy foundations appropriate for small businesses,

• Content focused on new ideas, time management and efficiency for people in the trenches, and

• More advanced ideas focused on cutting edge ideas on strategy, measurement and competitiveness.

Registration for the free event is available at The event will include lunch.

Veteran reporter Doug LeDuc joined Business Weekly in 2006 and primarily covers banking and finance and technology. You can send information for his weekly column to or call 260-426-2640, ext. 3309.

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