For the first time in its 13 year history, the Young Inventor Challenge (YIC), held annually during Chicago Toy and Game Week (ChiTAG), crowned three grand prize winners for Most Marketable Concept, a category sponsored by Target and Pressman Toy.

Cain Guerra, a fourth-grader from Palos Park, Illinois, won for Soup It. Lyra Acosta, a fifth-grader from Palos Hills, Illinois, won for Hypnodizzy. Lily Brown of Alpine, Utah, and Tait Hansen of Evanston, Illinois, a team of sixth-graders, won for Bet You Can’t.

Each of the winning young inventors, along with three members of their family, will take a trip to Target Headquarters in Minneapolis for a behind-the-scenes tour of how products move from selection to store shelves.

More than 250 kids competed in the YIC, spanning five countries and 15 states. Each received feedback from 100 mentors from Target, Goliath, PlayMonster, LEGO, Spin Master, Razor, Disney, Hasbro, Mattel, IDEO, KID Group, 7Towns, and more. A complete list of 2018 YIC winners is available here.

Pressman Toy partnered with 2017 Young Inventor Challenge winner Ellie Skalla of Oak Park, Illinois, and manufactured her game Galactiquest. It will be available in January exclusively at Target. PlayMonster also has two games coming out in Fall 2019 from Young Inventor Challenge winners, including Draw-n To Crime by Tiggy Silwinski of Palos Hills, Illinois, and There’s a Poo on My Shoe! by Edie Piacenza of Elmhurst, Illinois.

The Toy and Game Innovator Awards gala (TAGIEs) also took place during ChiTAG. Spin Master CMO Nancy Zwiers gave the keynote address, and the following winners were announced:

  • Game Innovators of the Year – Bob Driscoll and Don Ullman for Don’t Step In It by Hasbro
  • Toy Innovator of the Year – David Fuhrer, Richard Kimbrough, DiscoNifty​ for Twisty Petz by Spin Master
  • Young Inventor of the Year  – Harper Miller for The Dream Pillow
  • Rising Star Innovator of the Year – Nick Metzler, Hail Hydra for Spin Master
  • Innovative Art and Visuals of the Year – Elan Lee and Matt Inman of Exploding Kittens for Bears vs Babies
  • Innovative Marketing Team of the Year – Sydney Wiseman for Fingerlings by WowWee

Special recognition went to:

  • Inventor Advocacy Honoree – Mike Meyers, Retired Senior VP Hasbro Games
  • Start-Up of the Year – Thijmen de Schipper and Jochem van Rijn of Yulu Toys
  • Hassenfeld Family Initiatives Humanitarian Award – #MyShotAtEpilepsy Challenge
  • Lifetime Achievement Honorees – David Small and Paul Rago of Shoot the Moon.

A full list of TAGIE nominees, winners, and honorees is available here.