Indiana State University Newsroom

Entrepreneurs invited to second annual Startup Weekend Wabash Valley

January 14, 2014

Innovation and entrepreneurship will be put to the ultimate test at the second annual Startup Weekend Wabash Valley hosted by the West Central Indiana Small Business Development Center.

The 54-hour competition will take place Jan. 24-26 at Indiana State University's Scott College of Business.

Contestants will each have one minute to pitch their idea for an innovative product or service. Audience members then vote on which concepts will move on to the next round.

Those whose ideas do not move on to the next round join the remaining teams and together they create a business plan to present on the final day of the competition.Richard Pittelkow, a business advisor for the Small Business Development Center, said that the primary goal is for the teams to "validate" their business plan and evaluate the commercialization of their product and services.

"A lot of business ideas may be good from a stand point of unique and innovative and maybe fun to think about... but there is not enough volume to make it a successful business," he said.

The winner will receive free marketing research and business planning software and marketing packages from local advertising companies. However, according to Pittelkow, the lessons learned throughout the weekend are far more important than any prize.

"It's important to encourage not only innovation, but people pursuing their dreams and their business ideas," he said.

Coaches will be present throughout the weekend to offer advice and insight to contestants about creating a business plan, marketing and creating a budget. Coaches include Justin Campbell, business development officer at Riddell National Bank; Stacey Thacker, founding member of Art Totality LLC and Julie Hart, economic and development community extension educator and Purdue Extension director for Vigo County.

Judges include Brien Smith,dean of the Scott College of Business, attorney Lakshmi Reddy, and Tom Mason, professor emeritus of economics at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

The mission of the Small Business Development Center is to "create a positive impact on the formation, growth and sustainability of Indiana's small businesses by providing entrepreneurs expert guidance and a comprehensive network of services."

According to Pittelkow, Startup Weekend Wabash Valley fits right in with the center's mission.

"[This contest] is meant to encourage them to move forward... to work with some coaches, other young entrepreneurs who also have business ideas to try to validate their ideas and give them the courage to move forward," he said.

For more information about Startup Weekend Wabash Valley and how to register visit or call 812-237-7676

Contact: Richard Pittelkow, business advisor, Small Business Development Center, Scott College of Business, Indiana State University, 812-237-7676 or

Writer: Emily Sturgess, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or