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MADISONVILLE, Ky. (10/8/18) — Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development Corp. is seeking high school competitors from around the region for its third annual Idea Competition that includes cash prizes.

The EDC will be showcasing innovative business ideas from students in grades 9-12 from Henderson, Hopkins, Muhlenberg, Union and Webster counties. Entries must be submitted by 4 p.m. Dec. 14 online at

Ideas must be for new, for-profit businesses in agriculture, filtration, healthcare, information technology/data/software/technology, logistics/distribution or aviation, the EDC announced. Participants must create and submit three-minute video presentations of their proposed businesses. They are required to answer questions about their entries describing the primary benefits of its product and services, potential customers, market competition, production and distribution costs, etc. Entrants can compete as individuals or as a member of a single team of no more than four students.

“We want to challenge students to think deeply about what problems they feel passionate about solve in the world and how,” said Ruthann Padgett, MHCEDC vice president of operations. “Every successful business solves a problem of some type, and we look forward to hearing about the problems that the students identify and how they plan to go about solving them.”

Ten finalists will be selected from among the entries and notified before Jan. 14. Those students will have the opportunity to train on presentation skills with Kim Simons, a professor of business administration at Madisonville Community College. Finalists then will deliver three-minute, in-person pitches and discuss their business ideas with a panel of judges March 7 at Kentucky Innovation Station, 38 W. Arch St. in Madisonville.

The MHCEDC Corp. Idea Competition, sponsored by Hancock Bank, is intended to also prepare students to participate in the Lieutenant Governor’s Entrepreneurship Challenge, a pitch competition for Kentucky high school students in grades 9-12. The written plan and marketing video for that competition is due Feb. 20.

About MHCEDC is a nonprofit governed by an independent board, located at 38 W, Arch St. in Madisonville. Its purposes include, but are not limited to, the following: to engage, directly or indirectly, in economic development, community improvement, educational opportunity enhancement, and culture improvement activities within the Madisonville and Hopkins County area, and to maintain, enhance, improve and enlarge the employment base of the citizens and the residents thereof, and to improve, expand and support any and all types of community improvement, cultural and educational opportunities for said citizens and residents.

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