NEW ORLEANS, LA – i.Invest Youth Business Competition founder and LifeSkills Foundation executive director, Michelle Jackson, was named by Silicon Bayou News to the Silicon Bayou 100 List of Louisiana’s most influential people in tech and entrepreneurship. The list is compiled by the community, through an anonymous nomination process.
Jackson was recognized for her dedication to nurturing next generation startups created by youth entrepreneurs from across the country.
i.Invest is a six-month web-based competition and mentoring program designed to showcase the innovative ideas of aspiring entrepreneurs, 13-19 years-old; to reward top teams with a share of $10,000 in cash and in-kind prizes; and to provide mentoring from industry professionals from organizations like Coca-Cola UNITED Bottling, Microsoft, and USDA. Since 2016, i.Invest has trained more than 25 teams from across the U.S. and awarded $40,000 in prizes. Participants have gone on to raise over $400,000 in pre-seed funding, launch scalable ventures, hire staff and enroll in the best business schools in the nation. i.Invest is one of the few youth business competitions in the country that allow students from across the U.S., and now Canada, to compete regardless of their location, school affiliation or grade point average (GPA).
“It’s an honor to be selected for the Silicon Bayou 100 List,” said Jackson. “We believe that by nurturing youth entrepreneurs we are building a pipeline of strong and successful future business leaders who will create jobs, reduce poverty and build wealth in communities across the country. This recognition is a significant accomplishment.”
Jackson’s passion for entrepreneurship ignited during her time working for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) prior to moving to Louisiana in 2016. She co-led the policy development effort to create the InvestMaryland program, a first-of-its-kind legislative initiative that raised $84 million for seed and early-stage companies. In addition, Jackson co-created the InvestMaryland Challenge, the state’s first international business competition. From 2012 to 2015, she helped the state award close to $2 million in cash and in-kind prizes to high-tech start-up companies from across the U.S. and abroad.
i.Invest recognizes many important factors involved with developing the future of young entrepreneurs. These factors include the importance of understanding the similarities in both young and seasoned entrepreneurs; regional disparities in select industries; the need for diversity in the startup community; and the significance of parental support. These are all efforts i.Invest works to address.
This year, Jackson hopes to inspire youth, 25 and younger, in New Orleans to learn the tech skills needed for 21st century IT jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. On March 14, i.Invest and LifeSkills Foundation, a 501 c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to youth leadership, will host the Tech-2-Talent Youth Expo & Career Fair at the Mel Ott Multi-Purpose Center in Gretna, LA. The event will include interactive tech exhibits by organizations such as Operation Spark, Tech Talent South, Electric Girls and New Horizons Career Learning Center. In addition, there will be video game competitions, speakers, music, pizza and prizes. To learn more about Tech-2-Talent visit https://www.i-investcompetition.com/tech-2-talent-youth-expo and to compete or participate in the 2020 i.Invest Competition visit www.i-Investcompetition.com.