Talent Talk: April 2019
Entreprenurial Endeavors WithIN Knox County
Published April 16, 2019 by Amber Robinson, Communications Coordinator for Indiana's Office of Career Connections and Talent
Student safety is top-of-mind for Cameron Klein, James Hancock and Colten Mouzin. Students themselves and first-place winners of the 2019 Innovate WithIN pitch competition, the trio set out to invent something to improve the education system.
Innovate WithIN plays a key role in the Hoosier entrepreneurial ecosystem by providing high school students programming that nurtures young innovators. Programs like this equip Indiana students with insight, skills and expertise necessary to support long-term economic growth as our next generation of leaders.
“I think in the back of all of our minds, we wanted to do something that could make a significant impact on many lives. Eventually, school shootings came up in conversation, and I think the little lightbulb above all of our heads went off at the same time, and we all thought we should try to solve that problem,” recounts James.
The LyfePack is a backpack combining solar power and student safety for the purpose of bettering student lives inside and outside the classroom. Its charging capabilities make it an ideal backpack for someone, like a student, who is constantly on the move. But what sets LyfePack apart from other backpacks more than modern features is its life-saving ability.
Made with Kevlar, a lightweight bulletproof, stab proof, and flame resistant fiber used to make body armor, LyfePack works to protect the person wearing it, similar to the vests worn by law enforcement and military personnel.
“Making our LyfePack out of Kevlar is specifically for the purpose of keeping students safe in hopefully rare circumstances,” notes the team. “As sad as it may be, nobody ever knows what danger they may encounter throughout any normal day, especially high school and college students.”
Behind the Presentation
Two members of Team LyfePack, Cameron and James, are also part of the Knox County CEO program, which played a role in preparing them for the pitch competition. “CEO helped us to deliver a strong pitch at competition by organizing opportunities for us to practice and refine our pitch in front of community leaders,” according to James.
The CEO program immerses students in real-life learning experiences with the opportunity to take risks, manage the results and learn from the outcomes. Innovate WithIN put the skills Cameron and James learned from these experiences to the test –a test the team passed with determination and precision.
The buck doesn’t stop here for these students. Team LyfePack, along with the other 10 finalists, will receive mentoring services through the StartEdUp Foundation in an effort to help guide these young entrepreneurs with developing and executing their innovative ideas.
As for life after LyfePack? Cameron plans on attending college to study business and hopefully create a business around the LyfePack. Likewise, James sees himself on campus at Trine University, studying engineering and using his skills to make a change in our world.
"I am so proud of Colten, James and Cameron. Their hard work and commitment to this project paid off in many ways. It is so awesome to see students step out of their comfortable routines to try something new and be successful,” touts Knox County CEO facilitator Kristi Utt. “It is wonderful to see the community be so excited for them and for them to be such a great role models for younger students."