Nine selected to receive Indiana Innovation Awards

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Locally based not-for-profit Centric Inc. has announced the winners of the 2017 Indiana Innovation Awards, selecting nine honorees from 48 finalists.

Now in their seventh year, the awards recognize individuals and organizations at the cutting edge of innovation in Indiana. This year’s winners represent industries such as education, manufacturing and technology.

The award recipients are:

Garden Party Botanical Hard Soda, Indianapolis
Already a recipient of Beverage Industry magazine’s 2016 Innovation of the Year award, Garden Party is revolutionizing the flavored malt beverage category in the adult beverage industry. Garden Party’s all-natural ingredients, culinary-inspired flavors, and 8 percent alcohol content, along with its unique packaging and branding design, set the product apart, judges said.

Workforce Development Pipeline – Hillenbrand Inc., Batesville
Hillenbrand Inc. created a workforce development pipeline starting with children as young as 4 years old in an attempt to grow its workforce. The company established multiple programs within Batesville and has partnered with the local school corporation, Ivy Tech, local not-for-profits and other businesses.

Mimir Classroom – Mimir Corp., West Lafayette and Indianapolis
Mimir Classroom provides instructors with tools to efficiently teach computer science courses of any scale without compromising the quality of education for students. The platform supports 60 programming languages and is used by more than 70 universities. Mimir Corp. already has received significant industry recognition from TechPoint, Y Combinator, Thiel Fellowship and Forbes. The company moved its headquarters to Indianapolis in June and announced the following month plans to add more than 100 jobs by 2021.

Fuzic – Fuzic Inc., Fishers
Launched in early 2017, Fuzic Inc. is redefining four-wall marketing. By combining fully licensed music and professional voice talent into a software as a service platform, businesses now can control customer engagement. Fuzic already is operating in more than 300 businesses and lets users set the tone for their retail spaces by giving them access to a music library of more than 50,000 licensed songs from 200 genres. Customized messaging, produced and recorded by professional voice talent, is fused between songs to give voice to a business' brand.

Beyond Spaceship Earth Interactive Exhibit – The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Beyond Spaceship Earth is an exhibit that opened in June 2016 and tells the story of space exploration through NASA's Project Mercury program. The exhibit provides opportunities for museum visitors to gain a better understanding of the ways science, technology, engineering, and math contribute to the country’s space-exploration efforts. Beyond Spaceship Earth received more than 1 million visitors through June.

TxJet – Indiana Donor Network, Indianapolis
Indiana Donor Network is one of 58 organ procurement organizations in the United States. It also is the only one to operate its own aircraft. TxJet was launched in 2014 to decrease "cold" time on organs (the time between when the organ is recovered from the donor and when the organ is transplanted in the recipient) while also decreasing the expense associated with flying. To date, TxJet has flown the equivalent of 20 trips around the earth and delivered nearly 625 lifesaving organs.

21st Century Charter School at Gary – The GEO Foundation, Gary and Indianapolis
21st Century Charter School at Gary is a free public charter school committed to using teaching skills tailored to meet the needs of each student. It is one of a very few schools offering a Middle College program, which allows qualifying high school students to take college courses for college credit at no charge. The program has spread outside Indiana and is now operating in Colorado and Louisiana.

WorkHere Mobile App – WorkHere, Carmel
WorkHere is a mobile job app that lets users find nearby places to work via their smartphone or tablet.  Its GPS-powered job search makes nearby job opportunities easier to find. For workers making $15 an hour, the cost of a 10-mile commute can consume up to 25 percent of their paycheck. By reducing a commute by just one mile, they can save more than $397 a year, WorkHere says. More than 120 employers and more than 40,000 employees in Indiana are using WorkHere.

Auto-Stackable 15L PET Bottles – Dow AgroSciences, Indianapolis
Dow AgroSciences developed a new agro-chemical packaging system featuring lighter weight, square polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles that are auto-stackable without the need for an outer cardboard box for transport. The ergonomically designed bottles are up to 30 percent lighter per liter than the currently used high-density polyethylene (HDPE) cans, reducing the carbon footprint and eliminating up to 40 metric tons per year of corrugated paper. The innovation was named the 2016 Best Packaging Innovation by Agrow Awards and a Diamond Finalist Winner in the 2017 DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation.

Award winners will be recognized at Centric’s Day of Innovation conference on Oct. 12 at Butler University. To learn more about the Indiana Innovation Awards, visit To purchase tickets for Day of Innovation, visit

Centric is an Indianapolis-based not-for-profit that connects, educates and celebrates innovators in an effort to improve the success rate of innovation in Indiana.

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