IMSA SWEEPS MIDWEST BUSINESS IDEA COMPETITION | Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy


Aurora, IL — IMSA students swept 1st, 2nd and 3rd place and won $40,000 in prize money for their innovative business ideas at the Midwest ‘The Next Launch’ Competition on April 24.

Students from nine Midwest high schools including Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio competed at The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur at Culver Academies in Culver, Indiana.

“We were thrilled to host The Next Launch for the third year,” said Alex Kurrelmeier, Director of The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur. “The past two years we’ve seen incredible ideas from high school students, including a mobile application that would use an avatar to assist students with speech impediments, a feminine hygiene product that would cut waste and benefit lower-income women, and more. This level of competition provides students with real-world experience in teamwork, collaboration and research typically only found at the university level.”

IMSA sophomores Eva Tuecke, Krisha Patel, Emily Shao and Xiaofan Li grabbed the top prize and $25,000 for Fision, a thin, film-like plastic that is applied over eyeglass lenses making small prescription changes and eliminating the need for entirely replacing the lens.

Another team of IMSA sophomores including Ahana Narayanan, Manasvi Thumu and Shivani Venkatraman earned second place and $10,000 for Triton Tech, a water heating system designed to heat water held in hot water pipes, which gets cold between uses, effectively reducing water wastage.

IMSA junior Sophia Pribus placed third and received $5,000 for Dialekt, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to bridging the gap between high school students and immigrants. The organization seeks to foster relationships to help immigrants develop skills they need to be placed in high-skill jobs, while giving high school students tutoring experience and a broadened worldview.

Kelly Page, Ph.D., Chief Innovation Officer and head of the Steve and Jamie Chen Center for Innovation & Inquiry and Steve Goldblatt, Entrepreneurship Program Manager served as advisors for the IMSA project teams and traveled with the students to the competition.

The event included workshops, preliminary rounds of 5-minute pitches followed by finalist rounds of 10-minute pitches. Entrepreneurship and business professors from Indiana University, Butler University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, University of Notre Dame, University of Illinois and professional business leaders served as the judges for the competition.

George “Monk” Foreman III, a 2001 Culver graduate, was the keynote speaker. Foreman is an entrepreneur, boxing trainer/coach, and son of the legendary businessman and former two-time heavyweight champion George Foreman Sr.

For more information about IMSA’s entrepreneurship programs, e-mail