Cole Miller, Founder of Millermatic Irrigation System Wins 2016 Launch LaGrange County Entrepreneur Competition

News Release
Contact: Ryne Krock, LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation, 260.499.4994,
Cole Miller, Founder of Millermatic Irrigation System Wins 2016 Launch LaGrange County Entrepreneur Competition
LAGRANGE, Ind. (April 28, 2016) — Nearly 200 students, parents, business and community leaders, elected officials and members of the general public gathered at the Shipshewana Event Center on Tuesday evening for the first-ever Launch LaGrange County Entrepreneur Competition sponsored by the LaGrange County Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation and Economic Development Corporation. The event featured eight teams of students representing Lakeland, Prairie Heights and Westview High Schools, as well as Howe Military Academy pitching their businesses to a live audience and panel of expert judges.
At the end of the evening, Lakeland High School youth entrepreneurs took the stage as they swept the winners’ podium with the top three placing teams. 
Cole Miller, a senior at Lakeland High School was the program’s overall winner with his venture, Millermatic Irrigation System. His product is a single-pivot irrigation system designed for smaller farms and fields with the capability to connect directly to a residential well. Cole’s invention will revolutionize the farming industry for small family farms in LaGrange County, Northeast Indiana, the United States and potentially across the world. As the winner, Cole received a $5,000 startup grant, scholarship offers from four area colleges, a general scholarship, free office space and membership to the LaGrange County Chamber of Commerce. “Through the Launch LaGrange County Competition, I have gotten to look at and solve real-world problems. It has given me the tools to not only start my own business, but it has taught me how to make it a successful business. Post-competition, I plan to develop my marketing strategy for Millermatic and begin production and sale of it,” said Cole Miller.
The runner-up was AJ Dorough, a sophomore at Lakeland High School and Founder of Haywire. This venture is designed to create the next generation of programmers. It is an application that teaches users how to code and create apps based on the Indiana Department of Education Standards. This product will make teaching classes like web design easier and more efficient for educators. “With the Launch LaGrange County Program, I was able to communicate with people in the business world and get advice on how to run a business. My business has received exposure to the public because of this competition and because of that, I am now working on developing apps and websites for several new clients. Now that the competition is over and I have received a grant, I plan on building my business and I will be marketing my inaugural product, “Interact Academy” to schools in Northeast Indiana beginning this summer,” said AJ Dorough. For his second-place finish, he received a $2,000 grant, numerous scholarship offers and dedicated assistance from the EDC.
Bus Buddy, founded by Lakeland students Kameron Combs, Manuel Rangel, Nolan Isaacs and Kyle Coalson finished third in this year’s competition. Their venture is a phone app with GPS technology for school buses; it will allow students and parents to track the location and arrival time of the bus each day. This app is the brainchild of a student who lives five acres from the bus stop and saw the need for a method whereby students and parents can track the location of the bus at any point along its route. They received a $1,000 grant and scholarship offers from area colleges.
“I am so proud of our students. This is exactly what project-based learning is all about; professionally presenting a relevant idea or concept to an authentic audience,” said Robert Albaugh, Club Sponsor at Lakeland High School.  
Other finalist for the 2016 Launch LaGrange County Program include the following:
  • Something Else Photography, Kayla Williams from Prairie Heights
  • PencilPort, Christopher Janik and Trace Scoles from Westview High School
  • Greenwater Enterprises, David Ernst, Dillon Pauck, Samuel Scott and Adam Wratcher from Howe Military Academy
  • Dream_Flex, Jakub Kundzicz and Zachary Yanakeff from Howe Military Academy
  • Fashion for a Future, Karey Haney from Westview High School
  • Michiana Dog Training, Kalei Bollinger from Westview High School 
Each finalist will receive a $150 scholarship that can be used for any educational or technical training, as well as access to the EDC for business development services. The LaGrange County Community Foundation is also providing each student who participated in this year’s event, whether a finalist or not, with a $10 gift card.
Ryne Krock, President and CEO at the LaGrange County EDC could not be happier with the way the Launch LaGrange County Program and Competition Finals went in just its first year. “These students from all four LaGrange County high schools worked extremely hard to develop quality business proposals. When we created this program, we had no idea that it would have this significant of an impact on participant youth this early on. To watch them stand before a live audience and deliver passionate, professional, poised presentations really demonstrates the deep and lasting impact this program will have,” he said. “There is no doubt in my mind—or in the minds of anyone else who attended—that every student who participated in this program is going to be extremely successful in post-high school life. These students, coaches and mentors will look back in several years and realize that the trail they blazed this year will change the lives of countless youth in our community in the future.”
“I am simply elated with not only the way Launch LaGrange got the creative juices flowing in the younger generation but how it brought the community together as a whole! I am so excited for next year’s event, it is sure to be bigger and better than that last,” said Beth Sherman, Executive Director at the LaGrange County Chamber of Commerce and one of the program’s primary sponsors. 
Organizers plan to gather in the coming weeks to begin planning for the 2017 Launch LaGrange County Program, which they expect to grow and include other segments of the community. In addition, leaders from surrounding communities have expressed interest in implementing similar high school entrepreneurship programs that could make the Launch Program a regional concept in future years. 
If you missed the event on Tuesday, the video can be viewed at or  
About the Launch LaGrange County Program
The Launch LaGrange County Program was established in 2015 as a collaboration between the LaGrange County EDC, LaGrange County Chamber, LaGrange County Community Foundation in conjunction with Howe Military Academy, Lakeland High School, Prairie Heights High School and Westview High School. This program has also been made possible by generous sponsorships from Farmers State Bank; JO Mory; D&S Builders; Jacobs Advertising; Wabash Valley Power Association; LaGwana Printing; PalletOne; Scher Maihem; Fry, Trowbridge & Associates; Romer’s Restaurant & Spirits; Anna M. Efthimiou CPA; Miller’s Markets; and the Blue Gate. Launch LaGrange County was designed to provide LaGrange County youth with a unique, real-world entrepreneurial experience that will promote both business creation and critical skill development. 
About the LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation
The LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation, established in 2009, is a 501(c) 3 corporation designed to assist business development needs.  The LCEDC partners with local, regional, state, and federal agencies to attract, retain, and develop new businesses and entrepreneurs in LaGrange County and its communities.  For more information about the LaGrange County EDC, please visit or call at 260.499.4994.

About the LaGrange County Chamber of Commerce
The LaGrange County Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1956 and is a 501(c)6 non-profit which operates on membership dues. The focus of the Chamber is to bring the business community together thus developing a strong network of business-to-business. The Chamber advocates for the success of their members by providing information and referrals for their members. For more information phone the Chamber at 260-463-2443 or visit
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