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Group to ‘Ignite’ city with ideas

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A new event will give innovative thinkers a chance to improve the Columbus community — but they’ll only have 20 slides and five minutes to make their case.

Columbus Young Professionals is bringing Ignite, an idea-sharing competition organized in more than 100 cities around the world, to Columbus and is seeking more submissions.

The event’s motto: “Enlighten us, but make it quick!”

“The idea behind that is just to keep it kind of fun and social and make it a challenge,” planning committee member Brooke Hawkins said.

The first deadline to participate in the May 2 event is Tuesday. Participants must submit a short application for one of two projects:

Best Community Project, which requires competitors to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges for funding. The project must benefit Columbus in some creative way. The winner will be awarded $2,000 in seed money.

Most Enlightening Project, which requires competitors to teach the audience something. It’s supposed to be fun, educational or entertaining. The winner will be awarded a $250 prize.

Ignite’s goal is to create social change through creativity, Hawkins said.

The funds are coming from the Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County and the Chamber of Commerce, left over from a partnership project between Leadership Bartholomew County, Columbus Young Professionals and the Columbus Area Multi-Ethnic Organization.

Hawkins said the submission turnout has been good so far, but she invites more Columbus residents of all ages to share their ideas.

Applicants are required to answer a few short questions about the presentation or project in 250 words or less and submit three images that somehow illustrate the idea.

A panel will review those applications, and 10 will be selected to compete for the seed money and prize at the May 2 Ignite Columbus event.

Hawkins said the event, which will be 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Indiana University Center for Art + Design  Columbus, is designed to be fun. There will be music, free hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

“We just want to start some innovative thinking as well as do something good for the community,” she said.

How to apply

Email or visit and find the link for the application.

Mark your calendar

Registration deadline: Midnight Tuesday, emailed to or submitted via an online form found at

Presenters notified: April 6

Presentations due: April 27

Ignite Columbus: 6:30 to 9 p.m. May 2 at the Indiana University Center for Art + Design  Columbus.

What they’ll need

The Best Community Project application will ask for:

Contact information

The scope of the project

The timeline of the project

The impact of the project

Any research, benchmarking, data collection or interviews already completed for the project

Amount of funding required

Reasons for proposing the project

Any other friends, partners or organizations involved in the planning

Three images to illustrate the idea

The Enlightened Presentation application will ask for:

Contact information

Description of the presentation

A description of how the presentation will be fun, educational or entertaining

The importance of the message

Three images to illustrate the idea

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