Entrepreneurial spirit alive and well

Zion and Xavier Dunaway won the statewide Innovate WithIN pitch competition. The Salem High School students advanced to the state competition after winning

the regional competition held at Hanover College in May. Winners from around the state have spent the last six weeks participating in a “deep-dive,” five-week boot camp intended to help them refine or pivot their ideas to give them the greatest potential for success at the state competition. Topics included “Knowing Your Why”, understanding your micro and macro networks, pivots of partnerships, producing a 60-sec “sizzle real”, leadership, developing

prototypes, product validation and refining their pitch.

The brothers business Southern Indiana Bait Co. specializes in fishing bait. They have developed what they describe as high quality and durable bait for recreational, semi-pro and proanglers.

In addition to the $1,000 they received for their pitch at the regional competition, they each will receive a $10,000 cash prize to help continue to grow their business, $10,000 toward future education, an innovation immersion trip, as well as mentoring services and internship and additional scholarship opportunities. 

Zion and Xavier had the opportunity to meet Indiana Governor Eric Holcamp who stopped by the competition. “Initiatives like this are growing Indiana’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship and empowering young Hoosiers to start using their creativity and entrepreneurial ideas,” Holcomb said in a news release. “Seeing what these students have to offer at such a young age gives me a lot of hope for our state’s future.”

Zion said, “Words will never be able to describe the gratitude and thankfulness that we have. We would have never had the opportunity to receive the investment money to expand and gain connections in the industry as well as the scholarship opportunities that are now available. We can’t wait for what is to come in the future!”

Zion will be a senior this fall and Xavier will enter his sophomore year at SHS. They said of their involvement with Innovate WithIN, “This experience has really allowed us to take the next step towards growing our business. The process helped us refine our idea, look into market validation, and allowed us to develop a plan for what’s next.” 

Lana Hamilton


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