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Accelerate pitch competition funds big ideas across Northeast Ohio

Logo for the Accelerate: Citizens Make Change competition
Cleveland Leadership Center
Accelerate seeks ideas from the community to make life better in Northeast Ohio

Everyday citizens are ripe with great ideas.

Someone may experience a challenge or problem, and then come up with a solution for how to address it. They may spend time thinking of helping others around them, or create a way to address inequities experienced by members of the community.

But just how does one turn those ideas into reality? That's the tough part.

As the businessman and author Harvey Mackay said, "Ideas without action, are worthless."

The Cleveland Leadership Center's Accelerate pitch competition seeks to bring value to those ideas.

Accelerate: Citizen's Make Change was launched in 2015 by the Cleveland Leadership Center and promotes innovation across the region.

The competition is divided into multiple categories, with pitches aimed at areas including education, economic prosperity and quality of life.

Today, we heard from some of this year's winners, with ideas ranging from an app designed to help individuals become licensed independent social workers to using music as therapy, and a way to clean up and beautify communities.

We also met the winner of the first Teen Accelerate: Students Make Change competition.

- Brittany O'Connor, Vice President, Public Affairs Market Manager, Citizens Bank Cleveland
- Anycia Grady, Accelerate: Overall Competition and Technovation Category Winner
- Nancy Jones and Tracy Bellum, Accelerate: Quality of Life Category Winners
- Stephen Prewitt and Keenan Williams, Accelerate: Education Category Winners
- Dante Jones, Accelerate: Social Change Category Winner
- Devin Cotton, Accelerate: Economic Prosperity Category Winner
- Ella Witalec, Teen Accelerate: Overall Winner

Drew Maziasz is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and also serves as the show’s technical producer.