News release, Purdue University Northwest:

The Society of Innovators at Purdue Northwest (PNW) will host the inaugural Uthiverse StartUp Madness Business Pitch Tournament during a live event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 30 inside the Fitness and Recreation Center gymnasium at PNW’s Hammond campus.

The Uthiverse StartUp Madness is an innovative pitch competition designed to give high school students participating in a diversity of entrepreneurship programs an opportunity to win $2,500 in seed money. Thirty-two teams will be selected from regional applicants to compete live in a bracket-style pitch tournament.

Winners can use the seed funding to improve their business idea, develop a prototype, create a minimum viable product (MVP), implement a marketing strategy or fund some other activity that helps them launch their venture.

“Across the region, throughout the state of Indiana, and across the nation there is a movement to create a youth entrepreneurship ecosystem,” said Ken Patrick Barry, co-founder of The Uthiverse and a Gary, Indiana native. “Providing additional opportunities for seed money to help teens take another step toward the successful launch of their dream ventures seemed to be one of the greatest needs that we would help meet.

“My wife, Nicole, and I have firsthand experience working with enterprising teens with innovative ideas who want to launch businesses. After observing how other organizations are discovering and training thousands of teens with an entrepreneurial spirit, we realized that there is demand for more opportunities like the one The Uthiverse is presenting.”

“The Society is thrilled to be the supporting host of the inaugural StartUp Madness pitch competition,” said Jason Williams, assistant director of the Society of Innovators at Purdue Northwest. “We will also host the 2024 Innovate WithIN region finals in April at PNW. There is an overwhelming need to provide more of these pitch showcases and competitions for the growing number of high school students in our region who are designing and launching a business. The Society is always going to help when there is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the problems the young innovators in our region are solving.”

Applications are now open for the 2024 StartUp Madness Business Pitch Tournament. The application deadline is March 8. Startup Madness is also open to public spectators.

More information and free registration can be found at


The Society of Innovators at Purdue Northwest

The Society of Innovators at Purdue Northwest (PNW) aims to contribute to economic and community development throughout the region as the champion of innovation in Northwest Indiana. For more information about the Society of Innovators, visit


The Uthiverse

Founded by husband-and-wife team Ken Patrick and Nicole Barry, The Uthiverse provides space for young people to explore infinite opportunities as the prepare to transition into adulthood. Five key priorities for the organization include: Teen Mental Health, College and Career Readiness, Workforce Development, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Transition to Adulthood. For more information about The Uthiverse, visit