Ashland University graduate Ivan Wortman pitches his idea for an arm sling designed for use the shower at the Richland Idea Audition in 2018.

MANSFIELD -- The application deadline for the second-annual Richland Idea Audition is fast-approaching.

Those who wish to submit an idea to this fall’s pitch contest must submit their applications no later than Monday.

The Richland Idea Audition contest will take place Sept. 17 at OSU-Mansfield in Founders Hall, where the entrepreneurs will have four minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win a top prize of $5,000, sponsored by the Richland County Foundation.

The second-place idea will receive $2,500 and third place $1,000. Those who make it through the preliminary round will pitch during the final round of judging to a live audience for a chance at these prizes.

The intention is to introduce entrepreneurs to the community and connect them with local resources, representatives of the Richland Area Chamber of Commerce explained earlier this year at a press conference.

The inaugural event, which took place last October, drew more than 30 pitches, of which six presented in the final round. A group that pitched an app called “My Health, My Mammo” won first place, and while it’s not clear how far that group has progressed, the second and third place winners and several finalists went on to turn their ideas into start-up businesses.

Ashland University graduate Ivan Wortman, who pitched a startup selling arm slings for individuals with arm or shoulder injuries to use in the shower, has since launched Shower 90. And Ontario mother of two, Amy Hiner launched Gate Genie, a business selling fashionable, but affordable fabric covers for child and pet safety gates.

Recent AU graduate launches business, sells shower slings for those with arm injuries
Ontario mother's 2-year-old boy inspires business called Gate Genie

“It was because of Idea Audition that I thought maybe I should pitch, what do I have to lose?” Hiner said. “That’s the reason I did this because I had this platform to at least try my idea out.”

She encouraged people to connect with one of the event partners in advance to enhance their idea and prepare themselves to pitch at the event. The partners associated with the Richland Idea Audition are the Richland Area Chamber and Economic Development, Richland County Foundation, the Ohio State University at Mansfield, Braintree Business Development Center, Small Business Development Center, SCORE, North End Community Improvement Collaborative (NECIC), Community Improvement Corporation of Shelby, North Central State College, Idea Works and Downtown Mansfield Inc.

Further, all applicants are required to attend one of several August training sessions prior to the Richland Idea Audition.

Complete details, rules and an application are online at www.richlandcountyfoundation.org.

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