INDIANAPOLIS – A group of IPS students is making history in a statewide business competition with an idea that they discovered rolling down the streets of Indianapolis.      

Kieron Bishop and his teammates are the first IPS students to ever make it to Regionals in the Innovate WithIn Pitch Competition.   

Kieron Bishop participating in the Salesforce workshop in January 2023.

This year the competition included 2,400 students who were challenged to create real life solutions to everyday problems.   

Freshman Kieron Bishop takes an IndyGo bus every day to and from Herron High School.   

When thinking up a business idea for the pitch competition, the concept to create a platform where bus riders could give their feedback to IndyGo on their experience got his wheels turning.   

“We are going to collect insights on what riders think about the bus, and then we are going to send those insights to IndyGo so that they can use it improve the bus,” said Bishop.   

The business is called “Bussl.”

The Bussl team brainstorming with Salesforce employees during a workshop.

Bishop and his team got to work with Salesforce on web and app development for the idea, and their video pitch submission earned them $2,000 in seed funding from Elevate Ventures to help with the cost of the process.   

“The key is that I want them to see problems as opportunities. When they have the mindset that they hear people complaining or they see something that could be improved, I want them to know that they can do something about it, form a team, and really go after it,” said Don Wettrick, CEO and co-founder of the STARTed Up Foundation.

STARTed Up Founder, Don Wettrick speaking to a group of students during a Salesforce workshop in January 2023.

Bishop and his team hope Bussl can help riders work with IndyGo to improve the overall bus experience.    

“I guess the buses being late, that is a pretty big issue. Sometimes there is like, I mean it is rare, but sometimes there’s rude drivers. Then just like the more obvious things like cleaning the bus more often,” said Bishop. 

Salesforce has been mentoring students throughout the process to bring the ideas to life.   

Executives say they are fostering skills and behaviors that they want in their future employees.   

“They just loved interacting with the students [and] were really impressed and actually inspired by them. I think the goal of the event was for us to inspire these students, but it was completely the opposite,” said Katie Meares, manager of U.S. State and Local Government Affairs at Salesforce.

The winners from the last two years of the Innovate WithIn Pitch Competition launched their companies and actually made  money.   

Bishop and his team competed in the Regional competition at Purdue University on April 26.   

Regardless of the outcome of the competition, the team can continue to develop Bussl and you can still log on and give your feedback on your bus experience.