July 28, 2020 — On Friday, July 31, TechPoint, the nonprofit, industry-led growth accelerator for Indiana’s technology companies, and Governor Eric Holcomb will announce the winners of the TechPoint Summer Opportunities for Students Challenge (S.O.S.).
The Challenge, provided up to 500 students from Indiana colleges and universities a five-week summer internship experience, helping them strengthen their resumes, demonstrate skills, make professional connections and develop potential solutions to a number of COVID-19-related problems.
The student teams were assigned “coaches” from a pool of 200 volunteers from the Indiana tech community. Nine real-world, COVID-19-related challenge topics were identified: workplace & work-from-home environments, tourism, schools & colleges, restaurants & small businesses, COVID-19 outbreak detection, community organizations, telehealth, transportation and sports & entertainment.
“The students came up with a stunning array of ideas and products,” said Mike Langellier, TechPoint president and CEO. “Our judges report that they have had a hard time trimming the list down. The students really took this seriously and impressed us.”
Langellier encouraged Hoosiers to visit the S.O.S. Challenge submission site to see each of the teams’ proposals and to vote for their favorite. At stake is a $2500 cash prize for that team to share. Voting is as simple as clicking the “Vote” button at the top of each entry’s submission. Voters will have to create a free account to make their vote count. Voting ends Thursday at noon.
Additionally, each of the teams whose proposals are deemed Best Solution for their category will share in a $2500 prize.
On Friday, during a live event on Zoom beginning at 3 p.m., three teams put forward as finalists by the TechPoint Judges will present their ideas to Governor Holcomb.
Julie Schrader, Butler University’s Sr. Associate Director & Team Lead, Lacy School of Business Career Development, served as a volunteer judge and said COVID-19 disruptions to normal life could easily have negatively affected the students’ performance.
“I knew these students might face some real challenges of finding motivation and staying focused and in such a short, five-week period of remote teamwork,” she said. “But It has been amazing to see the collaboration and caliber of these students. These solutions will make a direct, long-term impact.”
Sean Wolfe, a Ball State University computer science major from Danville, worked on a proposal his team called Checkfirst. It’s a website where tourists, business travelers, and local Hoosiers can check the safety precautions that Indiana businesses are taking. Users have the opportunity to review businesses on how seriously they’re taking COVID-19 precautions, which then provides a Business Safety Rating.
“The Challenge also gave me an opportunity to learn a lot about Indy tech, which I’ve learned to appreciate and love,” Wolfe said “Originally I didn’t think Indiana has a lot to offer in terms of tech jobs, but now I understand just how much opportunity there is for me here as a software developer and for anyone who wants to be in tech.”
Through the S.O.S. Challenge, TechPoint is providing more than $250,000 collectively in stipends and 5-weeks of work experience to 500 students from Indiana colleges and universities. Students worked in teams of 5-7, each supported by 2 coaches selected from a pool of 200 industry professional volunteers from Indiana’s tech community. Teams prepared a product prototype and go-to-market plans that address solutions to COVID-related problems or that can create new opportunities.
Indiana tech companies and organizations coaching the student teams are Allegion, Angie’s List, Appirio, Atrium, Authenticx, Baker Hill, Brite Systems, Carbonite, Centric Consulting, Cisco, ClearObject, CNO Financial Group, Codelicious, Comcast Business, Cummins, Delta Faucet Company, DemandJump, DewPoint, Dynatrace, EduSource, Eli Lilly and Company, Emplify, Fineline Printing Group, Genesys, Google, Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, Infosys, JobVite, KAR Global, Kinney Group, Lena Works, Lev, MetaCX, NextGear Capital, Olio, One Click Ventures, OneCause, Ontario Systems, Peopleocity, PFL, Polis Center, Pondurance, Qumulex, Rocketbuild, Salesforce, SEP, Springbuk, Stanley Security, T2 Systems, Twilio, U.Group, Upper Hand and Verizon Wireless.
The S.O.S. Challenge is a new component within TechPoint’s talent-focused offerings, which is headlined by its Xtern program, which has placed 731 students into internships with 131 local tech employers since 2014. S.O.S. Challenge students will meet virtually with tech leaders, get a virtual introduction to Indianapolis and engage in professional development experiences that prepare them to land a job in the future.
TechPoint is the nonprofit, industry-led growth accelerator for Indiana’s technology companies and overall tech ecosystem. The team is focused on attracting talent, accelerating scale-up companies, activating the community, and amplifying stories of success. For more, visit www.techpoint.org.