SlingShot Polk is collaborating with the United Way of Central Florida to identify and solve some of the biggest problems in Polk County. The goal is to take the United Way’s three impact areas (Education, Income, and Health) and bring them to the forefront for Polk County’s young entrepreneurs and innovators to solve.

SlingShot Polk is a contest designed to inspire and motivate innovators by soliciting new product ideas from students enrolled in a Polk County middle school or high school (or homeschool equivalent) or a bachelor’s or master’s degree program at a college or university located in Polk County, as well as innovators under the age of 30.

Eight finalist teams, comprised of students from Florida Southern College, Florida Polytechnic University, McKeel Academy of Technology, Lakeland Christian School, and Bok Academy will present their plans at a final event on Monday, April 8, 2019, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at Crystal Lake Elementary, 700 Galvin Dr., Lakeland, FL 33801.

Winning prototypes may even be implemented at Polk County’s Crystal Lake Elementary, a Community Partnership School. First, second, and third place winners in two contest categories (middle/high and college through age 29) will receive cash prizes!

Event emcee will be Ernest L. Joe, Jr., senior director, Office of Equity & Diversity Management, Polk County Public Schools.

Judges include Sean Malott, Central Florida Development Council; Wesley Barnett, Lakeland Hospitality Group; Christina Criser Jackson, United Way of Central Florida; and Dr. Silviana Falcon, Florida Southern College.

In 2018, more than 100 Polk students entered SlingShot Polk to present their business ideas related to solving Polk’s biggest problems. Six finalists received more than $8,000 in cash prizes.

SlingShot Polk is an initiative of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce and is sponsored and supported by: the Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise at Florida Southern College, Central Florida Development Council, Inc., Heacock Insurance Group, Polk County Public Schools, SpringHill Suites, Centennial Bank, Saint Leo University – Lakeland Education Center, Webber International University, and other community partners.