Event seeks to ‘Ignite’ creativity

The Columbus Young Professionals wants to ignite creativity to support a project that will benefit the community.

The group is sponsoring Ignite Columbus, an idea-sharing competition that will be 6:30 to 9 p.m. May 1 at Mill Race Center.

Ignite Columbus will award seed money to the best community improvement project that is proposed, with a goal of promoting social change through creativity.

The event attracted 150 people last year, and organizers hope to have more than 200 people at this year’s competition.

Last year’s winner, David McArdle, used his seed money to fund his venture, Tablet REconnect. His venture helps distribute new and used tablets to special needs children throughout the community.

The idea for Ignite Columbus came about through discussions between the Young Professionals and Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, Ignite committee member Heather Dunn said.

Funds left from a grant helped start the effort, and organizers said they wanted to honor a project that has community impact and was fun and innovative for Columbus.

Applicants may submit proposals in one of two categories, Best Community Project or Most Enlight-ening Presentation.

For the inaugural event last year, there were 24 applicants total. Dunn said they are not sure how many applicants there will be this year but hope to double that number.

Five enlightening projects and three community projects will be selected as finalists and presented at the May 1 event. Application deadline for both categories is midnight March 27.

“We don’t know enough of the applicants to know what to expect, we just want to get better involvement in the community and projects to improve the community,” Ignite Columbus Committee co-leader Kassidy Gailbraith said.

In the Best Community Project category, the winner will receive $2,000.

The proposals must benefit Columbus in some way, such as through public art, transportation or education.

Competitors will pitch their ideas, and a cellphone poll by the crowd will determine the winner.

The winner will have a written agreement with the chamber of commerce as to how the money will be used toward the community project.

“With our event, the speakers will be sharing information, and we award money for the most enlightened and best community presentation,” Dunn said.

The seed money must be used within two years of the award date.

A $250 prize will be awarded for the Most Enlightening Presentation. Competitors are evaluated on how well they teach the audience something.

The presentation isn’t tied to a project — it just needs to be fun, educational or entertaining, according to Dunn. Applicants must submit three images to illustrate their idea.

How to enter

For more information, including rules and an application, visit columbusareachamber.com/spotlight/ignite or send questions to ignitecolumbusin@gmail.com.