Category Archives: Business

3 HR TRENDS IN 2018 WITH STAYING POWER

Human resource departments must constantly adapt to new requirements from both internal and external challenges. A new generation of workers with very different ideas of what employment should look like has emerged. Now, more than ever, there is increased pressure on HR professionals to create a workplace environment where everyone can thrive. In order to meet current and future challenges, companies should look to these three HR trends that will have a direct impact on workforce development for years to come:

1. WORKFORCE RETENTION

Retention remains a critical focal point in 2018. For the first time in the history of the United States, the number of job openings exceeded the number of job seekers. The pressure is on HR departments to recruit and retain top talent, in addition to its other responsibilities.DAS clipped red banner

2. FLEXIBILITY

Technology has made it increasingly feasible to work remotely while remaining in contact with the office. The simultaneous collaboration created by cloud software allows employees to participate in meetings without being physically present. As a business owner, it is important to recognize that even minor flexibility can go a long way with improving employee morale and retention. You are more likely to gain retention from employees who feel in control about their workloads and schedules, which can lead to a healthier work-life balance.

3. SAFE WORKPLACE CULTURES REQUIRE OPEN DOOR HARASSMENT POLICIES

The rise of the #MeToo Movement has increased awareness regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. It is critical that your company is ready to handle these cases effectively, and that your workplace be a safe place for your employees. If you have not already done so, your human resource department should review and revise sexual harassment policies, examine the workplace culture, and establish an open-door policy for employees who feel harassed. Effective communication is the first step to solidifying a good relationship.

As a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), Delta Administrative Services can help bolster your existing retention program, identify ways to build a flexible workforce, and develop communication to help address harassment claims. Contact us today at 1-800-828-6130 to learn how we help our clients cost-effectively outsource the management of human resources, employee benefits, payroll, and workers’ compensation.  As expectations for your HR grow, Delta Administrative Services is here to help.

2018 i.Invest National Youth Business Competition Winners Announced

 

Pulse Team
i.Invest 2018 Youth Business of the Year – Pulse Wearables  Co-Founders: Anna Pertl – Munich, Germany; Richa Krishna – Los Altos, CA; and William Barkoff – New York, NY.

Today PR Solutions LLC announced the winners of the third annual i.Invest National Youth Business Competition. Four teams consisting of youth entrepreneurs, 13 to 19 years-old from across the U.S. have been selected to receive cash and in-kind prizes after successfully completing a six-month web-based mentoring program and competition that included three rounds of scoring led by business and academic leaders from organizations, including: Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Alerion Ventures, and Urban League of New Orleans. In addition, teams were required to complete group coaching, one-on-one mentoring, and a virtual finale pitch event. Winners were selected based on each team’s ability to develop a scalable business model using the guidance and recommendations of experienced industry leaders.

This year’s winners are:

  • First Place – Pulse Wearables. Developed by Richa Krishna, 17, of Los Altos, CA, William Barkoff, 16, of New York, NY and Anna Pertl, 17, of Munich, Germany, the Pulse Wearables’ medical device allows people limited by heart conditions to monitor their heart rate levels using a non-invasive patch that is easy to use, inconspicuous, and does not require any companion devices to operate. Prize: $2,000, title of i.Invest 2018 Youth Business of the Year, and a one-hour consulting session with Don Morrison, serial entrepreneur and chairman of deal flow at BlueTree Allied Angels and former President and CEO of American Eagle Outfitters.
  • Second Place – Skippit. Created by 19-year-old Brown University student, Winnie McCabe and Babson College student, Marc Baghadjian, Skippit is an iOS voice and video speed-dating platform designed to redefine online dating for people ages 19-28 who are interested in building intimate connections. Prize: $1,000 and a one-hour consulting session with Don Morrison.
  • Third Place – Trofi. Navami Jain, 17, Megan Wu, 17, Michelle Bao, 17, and Vincent Xia, 18, of Durham, NC are the creators of the Trofi online platform that enables suppliers of food by-products, such as fruit and vegetable pulp and spent grain, to connect and sell their “waste” products to livestock farmers who can then incorporate these nutrient-rich products into livestock feed as dietary supplements. Prize: $500.
  • Community Investment Award – Pumpkins Helping People. Gabriella Howard, 15, Alexandrea Howard, 13, and their younger brother, Sam, all from Canal Winchester, OH are the founders of Pumpkins Helping People (PHP), a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to fight hunger through the sale and distribution of pumpkins. Prize: $250.

In addition, all the winners will receive a one-hour consultation with PR Solutions LLC, a strategic marketing and public relations firm and the founder of the i.Invest Competition; the opportunity to be a vendor and/or speaker during the #EYECON Youth Conference in May 2019 at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD; and the chance to participate in a “Ask the Start-Up Attorney” no-fee virtual consulting session with Cherin Law Firm located in Pittsburgh, PA.

“The i.Invest competition was a wonderful experience,” said Pulse Wearables co-founder, Krishna. “We loved the mentorship we received from several business leaders both through one-on-one and group sessions. It helped us identify what is truly essential in building our business and focusing on our goals. I also appreciate how well i.Invest was organized and how smooth it was for young entrepreneurs from all over the country to participate. I would love to thank everyone who was part of i.Invest for providing a supportive environment for young entrepreneurs like myself to try without fear of failure.”

To learn more about each team, visit the i.Invest blog.

The 2019 competition will start accepting applications on March 1st. Applicants must be between the ages of 13-19 and have a demonstrable product or service to compete. The application fee is $29. To receive event updates, sponsorship information and to view the list of mentors and judges visit, the i.Invest website or contact Michelle Jackson at mjackson@i-investcompetition.com.

About PR Solutions LLC

PR Solutions LLC is a strategic marketing and corporate event planning firm that specialize in working with new and established ventures to build viable business models and to integrate innovative marketing tools into for-profit and nonprofit business strategies. PR Solutions is the parent company of the i.Invest competition. i.Invest is a grassroots effort that receives funding and support from donations to LifeSkills Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization, and the entrepreneurial community. The program’s 2018 principal sponsor was Premier Pediatrics of Houston. To learn more, visit www.prsllc.org.

3rd Annual USGBC FORWARD Symposium Seeks to Build A Greener Louisiana

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USGBC Louisiana’s Symposium on Sustainability

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Event set to bring green industry leaders together to discuss how to move Louisiana’s sustainability efforts forward.

New Orleans, LA – October 2, 2018 – On Friday, October 19th, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) of Louisiana will host its third annual FORWARD Symposium on Sustainability at Tulane University’s Lavin-Bernick Center from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This year’s theme, “Shared Value, Equity & Growth: Designing a Strategy for a Sustainable Future,” will bring green industry professionals from across the region together to discuss how to move the state towards a more sustainable, resilient future.

The symposium attracts business and academic leaders regionally including member and non-member environmentalists, architects, educators, nonprofit leaders, and students. The one-day event offers presentations and discussions about green building in and around Louisiana and provides professionals with the opportunity to earn American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI) continued education units. The event will also include the Women in Sustainability Empower (WISE) breakfast, green school workshop, educational sessions, Sustainability Leadership Awards Luncheon, and a Tulane LEED building tour.

“Making Louisiana a greener, healthier place to live, work, and learn is our mission,” said Monica Gonzalez, the organization’s Chair. “FORWARD is an opportunity to showcase the great sustainability work happening across the region, to share best practices, and to create a collaborative platform that allows us to move conversations on Louisiana’s sustainability forward.”

The event day will kick-off at 7:30 a.m. with the annual WISE breakfast featuring keynote, Diana Guzman-Barraza, an international Energy & Sustainability Consultant who was featured on former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s 24 Hours of Reality broadcast on climate change. Guzman-Barraza’s presentation, “The Way Forward: Greening Louisiana for a Shared, Sustainable Future,” will be followed by a panel discussion comprised of women influencers, including: Guzman-Barraza, Donna M. Barry, Manager, Facilities Planning & Operations, Entergy Services, Inc., and Melissa Gibbs, Business Development & Small/Disadvantaged Contractor Outreach, Gibbs Construction.

The Sustainability Leadership Awards Luncheon from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. will feature keynote speaker David Pogue, Senior Vice President, Global Client Care & Sustainability, CBRE. Pogue’s presentation, “What Do You Want to Be Known For?” will be a challenge to corporations to demonstrate a more direct integration between corporate responsibility efforts and outcomes and their business activities. Pogue will also address the process CBRE and others have taken to identify and create sustainable solutions.

During the Leadership Award Luncheon, the USGBC will recognize individuals and teams who have demonstrated exceptional efforts to help green Louisiana.

Educational sessions will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Other speakers include: Amanda Moore, Deputy Director, Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program, National Wildlife Federation; Camille Pollan, Energy Efficiency Program Manager, City of New Orleans; Arthur Johnson, CEO, Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (CSED); Z Smith, Director of Sustainability & Performance, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple and Bob Keefe, Executive Director, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2). To view the complete agenda, go to the USGBC website.

To attend the educational sessions, WISE breakfast and Leadership Luncheon, ticket prices are $125 for members and $150 for non-members. To attend the WISE breakfast only, the cost is $50. Students can attend the educational sessions for a special rate of $5. To learn more about USGBC Louisiana and the FORWARD Symposium, visit www.usgbclouisiana.org. For sponsorship opportunities visit, FORWARD sponsorship page.

About USGBC Louisiana

USGBC Louisiana is a chapter of the USGBC. The organization’s mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous Louisiana. The board executive committee members include: Monica Gonzalez, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. (Chair), Alejandra Guzman, New Orleans Business Alliance (Vice Chair), Richard Longman, WHLC, Architecture (Treasurer), Dru Lamb, HermanMiller (Secretary), Casius Pealer, Tulane School of Architecture (Special Counsel), and Amber Beezley, Tulane University (Ex Officio).

For more information:

Contact: Michelle Jackson

USGBC Louisiana Media Liaison

c. (678) 548-2461

events@prsolutionsllc.org

CyberMaryland Addresses Critical Risks in “The State of Cyber”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Annual event held during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month offers educational sessions led by industry experts, job fair, capture the flag competition and technology showcase.

Baltimore, MD – October 4, 2018CyberMaryland will host its eighth annual conference on October 9th and 10th in Baltimore, Maryland. The event, presented by the Federal Business Council, Inc. (FBC) and The National Cyber Security Hall of Fame, hosts over 800 attendees from across Maryland and around the United States.  Attendees representing more than 50 government agencies, 250 cyber companies, colleges and universities and international partners such as Australia and Canada will participate this year. The agenda will focus on workforce development, U.S. Cyber Command, cyber education, technology & innovation, NSA Cyber, risk management, employment opportunities and student competitions.

This year’s conference, themed “The State of Cyber,” will take place at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. As professionals come together to discuss the most critical risks our nation faces, key topics will be addressed by presenters, including, the Honorable C.A. ‘Dutch’ Ruppersberger, U.S. House of Representatives (MD); Christopher Krebs, Under Secretary, National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Marianne Bailey, Deputy National Manager (DNM) for National Security Systems (NSS) and Senior Cybersecurity Executive, National Security Agency (NSA) and Captain Ed Devinney, Director, Corporate Partnerships and Technology Outreach, U.S. Cyber Command.

“The CyberMaryland conference provides an annual networking platform for our community to get together in a face-to-face environment,” said David Powell, Event Chair. “As Maryland’s cyber ecosystem continues to evolve, it is important to the people behind the work to know each other, understand where opportunities exist and learn how we can support one another in securing the future. This is a gathering spot for anyone supporting cyber innovation, education, employment, technology development and government partners who are interested in playing a part in solving cyber problems.”

CyberMaryland Conference also features nationally recognized speakers and panelists on multiple tracks. New this year is a track dedicated to senior leadership from the U.S. Cyber Command who will provide an overview of their organization and discuss how businesses can engage with the Command to provide products and services to support their emerging technology needs. In addition, during the track, key leaders will introduce the new DreamPort initiative, a state-of-the-art facility and program designed to lead the development of unparalleled capability in cyber security, collaboration on the development of solutions and tools to help U.S. Cyber Command address cyber threats.

The Technology Showcase Exhibit will highlight the latest capabilities from cyber companies such as CyberSponse, Fortinet, CenturyLink, Anomali, Bridges, Eaton’s, Infoblox, KeyW Corp, MILVETS, TrainACE, DreamPort, Attivo, Point3 Security, ProObject; government agencies such as DHS, NSA, GSA and US Cyber Command; academic institutions such as UMUC, UMBC, UMBC Training Centers, Purdue University Global, George Washington University, Anne Arundel Community College, Capitol Technology University.

Cyber job seekers can attend CyberMaryland’s Job Fair on October 9th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with leading cyber security companies, network with other security professionals, and have their resume reviewed by human resource managers and staff. This year’s participants include, Bank of America, FEDDATA, Jacobs, Leidos, NSA, Parsons, Perspecta, Raytheon, SAIC, and the US Cyber Command.

Another highlight of the conference is the Maryland Cyber Challenge, sponsored by U.S Cyber Command’s “DreamPort,” and using the Point3 ESCALATE Competition platform.  Registered teams have participated in two qualifying rounds of challenges during the month of October which demonstrates their ability to work together, understand both simple and complex vulnerabilities, defensive operations and gamified offensive operations. The finals, to be held on October 9th, will feature eight high school and 12 college teams.  The Champion and First Runner-Up for each category will be announced during the closing session on October 9.

The CyberMaryland conference attracts a host of cyber-savvy professionals annually. To learn about the conference or to register, visit www.fbcinc.com/e/CyberMDConference/.

ABOUT CYBERMARYLAND

Launched in 2011, The Cyber Maryland Conference is driven by a public-private partnership guided by a volunteer Industry Advisory Board consisting of business leaders, top educators, and public sector representatives. Timely and informative, this issue-driven event provides an annual forum to unite private sector businesses, federal, state and local government, academia and the developing workforce. The conference is supported and funded by over 100 private companies, educational institutions and government organizations. The Federal Business Council, Inc. (FBC http://www.fbcinc.com) has produced The Cyber Maryland Conference from its inception, providing capital, personnel and expertise to launch and grow the program. More than 1,700 people participated in 2017. Now in its eighth year, the Conference will continue to address the security challenges facing our nation’s digital infrastructure, reinforce Maryland’s position as the epicenter of cybersecurity, and help fulfill Maryland’s responsibility to support America’s cybersecurity mission while maximizing the benefits to and opportunities for Maryland. For more information, please visit www.thecybermarylandconference.com.

For additional information:

Contact: Michelle Jackson

CyberMaryland Conference Media Liaison

c. (678) 548-2461

events@prsolutionsllc.org

 

Durham, NC Teen Entrepreneurs Turning Pulp into Profits with Online Sustainability Platform

Trofi Team Pic

Navami Jain, 17, Megan Wu, 17, Michelle Bao, 17 and Vincent Xia, 18 of Durham, North Carolina are one of this year’s competitors in the i.Invest National Youth Business Competition. Their company, Trofi, is a sustainability-driven venture that aims to reduce food waste while simultaneously offering new nutritional value to livestock farmers and their animals.

Tell us about your business.

Trofi’s online platform will enable suppliers of food by-products, such as fruit and vegetable pulp and spent grain, to connect and sell their “waste” products to livestock farmers who can then incorporate these nutrient-rich products into livestock feed as dietary supplements. After the products are reserved online, suppliers and farmers can negotiate all the details of the transaction, thus making the process convenient for farmers while offering a sustainable waste disposal method for suppliers. For just a small subscription cost each month, suppliers and buyers gain access to effortless connections, increased opportunity for transactions, and a chance to boost their green corporate image.

What inspired the creation of Trofi?

As students from a residential high school, we often go to local smoothie shops and juicers. As we watched the workers create our delicious drinks, we also noticed how much pulp comes from each drink. In fact, a standard 16 ounce of cold-pressed juice yields 4.5 pounds of pulp waste which, as we later found, contributed to the astonishing 175,000 pounds of pulp waste that ends up in landfills each year. After stumbling across an article that told of the incredible story of tons of orange pulp and peels turning nutrient-deprived land into loamy soil after years of decomposition, we wanted to see what fruit pulp could be turned into. Recognizing this problem, we seek solutions to reduce or repurpose this form of food waste besides just composting, which still has some environmental repercussions. Living in small towns in NC, we frequently visit Farmers’ Markets for fresh produce and local meats, eggs, or other dairy products. Supporting these farmers is important to us; therefore, we want to connect these two parties together. Waste from one source could be a hidden gem for the other.

How will Trofi impact the world?

Trofi offers benefits for both suppliers and buyers of the food byproduct items, as well as overall environmental benefit for the local communities. The suppliers – local juice stores, breweries, and other businesses – are able to reduce costs spent on waste disposal while recycling the nutrients that would otherwise be the “waste products” of their business. The buyers – local farmers – are able to enrich their animals’ diet with natural nutrients by paying a small price. Thus, both suppliers and buyers are connected to simultaneously promote sustainability at the highest level. Furthermore, because both suppliers and buyers are local businesses, we are supporting and promoting an economic exchange.

What are the next steps for Trofi?

Trofi currently does not have investors and is in the process of becoming an LLC to begin seeking investors. We would like to work towards incorporating an educational tool for farmers and suppliers on the online platform. While feeding animals food scraps isn’t a new concept, the research and educational tools can bring more awareness to this practice and better cater to the different needs of various types of livestock. We are seeking $8,000 to extend the functionality of our web-based platform, begin development of a mobile platform, and for marketing.

To stay abreast of Trofi’s progress in the i.Invest Competition, sign up for our newsletter at www.i-investcompetition.com. To provide support as a mentor or investor, email info@i-investcompetition.com.

18-Year-Old Entrepreneur Connects Underserved Students to Experiential Learning Opportunities

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Miracle Olatunji, Founder, OpportuniMe

Miracle Olatunji, 18, of New Castle, DE is one of this year’s competitors in the i.Invest National Youth Business Competition. Olatunji is the founder of OpportuniMe, a technology startup with the mission to help high schools and their students by democratizing access and exposure to quality experiential learning, enrichment, and employment opportunities for passion, career, and self-discovery.

We spoke with Olatunji to learn more about her business venture:

Tell us about your start-up company.

As a high-school student, I experienced first-hand how difficult it is to search and apply for meaningful opportunities for high-school-age students. Therefore, I developed OpportuniMe, which is an early-stage startup with the mission to help high schools and their students easily find and apply to various experiential learning, enrichment, and employment opportunities. Currently, the OpportuniMe newsletter has hundreds of subscribers from the Delaware area, and I recently graduated from the very first cohort of DualSchool, an incubator for high-school student entrepreneurs and change-makers. OpportuniMe has been featured in Forbes, Mogul, Technical.ly, GoodWall, The Female Lead, Out & About Magazine, and several other publications and media outlets. OpportuniMe also won first place in the 2018 World Series of Entrepreneurship. The next step is to create and launch a fully-functional website platform that will allow users to find and apply to opportunities.

What inspired you to start OpportuniMe?

The decision to start OpportuniMe was inspired by a personal experience and a problem I identified among other young people around the country. The challenge is that the current process of finding these meaningful opportunities for high schools and their students is very disorganized, stressful, and time-consuming. Therefore, I decided to start OpportuniMe as a solution to this problem.

What makes OpportuniMe unique?

We will be leveraging artificial intelligence technology and machine learning to make the platform highly efficient and save users time. Our goal is to simplify exposure and access to diverse opportunities for the 25,000+ high schools and millions of students in the US, all on one secure platform. The student data that we collect will also be used to help students by matching them to those experiences and resources that will enable them to confidently pursue their collegiate, entrepreneurial, and career goals and to develop the skills necessary to be leaders in the 21st century.

How will OpportuniMe impact the world?

Opportunities are the keys that unlock the doors for students to experience passion, career, and self-discovery. Some of the most successful and fulfilled professional adults today cite that early opportunities they had to explore and identify possible career paths and passions were keys to their success later in life. Outside and inside of school, experiential learning, enrichment, and employment opportunities allow students to develop a real-world perspective outside the classroom, to explore career and personal hobby interests, to foster personal development skills, and to begin to build their network. That is why a core belief at OpportuniMe is that it is important for high-school students to have the opportunity to explore possible careers and start finding or cultivating their passion before they head off to college. These opportunities can even encourage students who weren’t considering higher education to pursue it.

What are the next steps for OpportuniMe?

The next step is to complete web platform development. We are also building a team of people with tech, design, business development, and other talents as well as a diverse advisory board of experienced professionals. We are also working towards fundraising for the company. The funds will be used towards product development, marketing, and sales and business operations. We plan to spread the word and market through partnerships with various companies, organizations, and universities, student and public figure ambassador programs, social media, and digital marketing.

To learn more about OpportuniMe, visit their website, www.opportunime.co , Twitter @Opportuni_Me, or Facebook page, www.facebook.com/OpportuniME/.

19-Year-Old Co-founders Redefine Online Dating with Skippit, a Voice/Video Dating Platform

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Winnie McCabe & Marc Baghadjian, Co-founders of Skippit

Brown University student, Winnie McCabe and Babson College student, Marc Baghadjian, both 19, are one of this year’s competitors in the i.Invest National Youth Business Competition. Their startup, Skippit, is a dating platform that uses video and voice, and a slew of other features, to build intimate connections.

McCabe spoke with us about the business venture:

Tell us about your business.

Skippit is an iOS voice/video calling speed-dating platform for users ages 19-28 looking for an interactive experience that addresses the many shortfalls plaguing the incumbents in the online dating sector. Once two users match on Skippit, they have the option to spontaneously call or schedule a five-minute voice or video call with each other. If the call is successful, Skippit will suggest fun activities for their date based on their shared interests, then offer them insider deals on these activities for the date.

What inspired the creation of Skippit?

Marc and I both have had unsuccessful experiences using dating apps and are looking to solve a problem we have had firsthand. We were tired of the apps in the market and found that applications were built around prolonging the match process. We decided to reinvent the business model and build a dating application that condensed the match process. At first glance, one might not understand why the incumbents prolong the matching process but after evaluating their business models – which are contingent on users buying more swipes and using their dating applications for a long period of time – Marc and I decided to monetize in-person date interactions differently. We knew we had something special when we received positive feedback from polling users and individuals on our hypotheses.

How will Skippit impact the world?

Skippit facilitates introductions with individuals who would have never previously met. It assists in the match and meeting process, funneling people to do community gathering experiences through our integrated service providers. Skippit will enrich the communities on and between college campuses by offering individuals a way to streamline the first date process.

What are the next steps for Skippit?

Currently, we are looking to raise $150,000. We will use the funds to cover marketing costs, host the API’s to build the platform, contract developers and cover legal fees. Skippit’s target market is concentrated urban areas with large universities and business. We plan to start on the East Coast in the Boston area and reach an audience around the following schools: Harvard, MIT, Babson College, Wellesley College, Northeastern, Boston University, and Boston College.

To learn more about Skippit visit, www.skippitapp.com or follow them on social media: Twitter: www.twitter.com/skippit_app; Instagram: www.instagram.com/skippitapp/or Facebook: www.facebook.com/skippitapp. To mentor or provide support, email info@i-investcompetition.com.

Ohio-based Youth Entrepreneurs Fight Hunger in their Hometown – One Pumpkin At A Time

Pumpkins Helping People
Gabriella & Alexandrea Howard, Founders of Pumpkins Helping People

Fifteen-year-old Gabriella Howard, her sister Alexandrea, 13, and younger brother, Sam of Canal Winchester, OH are one of this year’s competitors in the i.Invest National Youth Business Competition. Their charitable organization, Pumpkins Helping People (PHP), is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to fight hunger through the sale and distribution of pumpkins.

Here’s what we learned about PHP’s business model:

Tell us about your non-profit.

Pumpkins Helping People offers a retail-based fundraising initiative – selling pumpkins. PHP partners with community food pantries to organize and promote an annual fall pumpkin drive in the pantry’s local community. By buying a pumpkin through PHP’s website, customers are supporting the local food pantry and farmers, from which the pumpkins are sourced from. PHP works hand-in-hand with the pantry to promote the pumpkin drive throughout the community. This promotion directs customers to our website through the use of social media and email marketing. We hope to use the local school system, sports associations, youth organizations, and churches to spread the word.

What inspired the creation of Pumpkins Helping People?

Our inspiration for creating PHP is to help fight hunger. We believe our non-profit is an innovative funding mechanism for food pantries and it has the potential to become highly successful due to our commitment to the customer, the food pantry, and the community.

How will Pumpkins Helping People impact the world?

Over 48 million Americans suffer from hunger, with over 32,000 American food pantries relying heavily on donations to help fight this hunger. The way our program is structured, all profits generated will go directly to help fund local food pantries’ operations and to help fight hunger. In 2017, our proof of concept enabled us to donate $669 to the Canal Winchester Food Pantry to help feed the local community.

What are the next steps for Pumpkins Helping People?

PHP is a scalable concept. Within three to five years, we anticipate extending PHP to other communities similar in size to Canal Winchesters’ (12,993 households) in Central Ohio and then throughout the state. We want PHP to become a national platform for consumers to purchase pumpkins to help fight hunger at the local level.

We recently designed and released a logo and are developing our online store. Once completed, we will begin promoting our website to the Canal Winchester community. In Fall 2018, we plan to strengthen our already established relationship with the Canal Winchester Food Pantry. Within the next two years, we will expand to three nearby similar-sized communities.

To stay abreast of Pumpkins Helping People’s progress in the i.Invest Competition, sign up for our newsletter at www.i-investcompetition.com. To mentor or provide support, email info@i-investcompetition.com.

Teen Entrepreneurs Develop Wearable Medical Device to Help People with Heart Conditions

Pulse Team
Meet the Pulse Wearables team: From left to right – Anna Pertl, 17, Richa Krishna, 17 and William Barkoff, 16.

Richa Krishna, 17, of Los Altos, CA along with her team members, William Barkoff, 16 of New York, NY and Anna Pertl, 17, of Munich, Germany are one of this year’s competitors in the i.Invest National Youth Business Competition. The team, who met at the 2017 MIT Launch Entrepreneurship Program, are the co-founders of Pulse Wearables, a startup company working to develop a potential life-saving wearable patch that will give people limited by heart conditions peace of mind.

We spoke with Krishna to learn more about the business venture:

Tell us about your business/product.

The Pulse Wearables device is a non-invasive patch that is easy to use, inconspicuous and does not require any companion devices, such as smartphones to operate. For patients who have been diagnosed with a heart condition, our wearable technology will positively change the way they monitor their heart health. Pulse Wearables allows people who experience dangerous arrhythmias – 16 million people in the US alone – to live their lives to the fullest. The user inputs the heart rate levels recommended by their cardiologist through a mobile app. When their heart exceeds the maximum safe heart rate, the patch vibrates gently to notify them to adjust their activity levels to better suit their heart.

What inspired you to start Pulse Wearables?

Pulse Wearables was inspired by my personal need for a reliable and an inconspicuous device, which I could wear to keep my heart rate in check. I was a high-performing ballet dancer when I was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), a heart condition in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, causing the heart to have a dangerously high frequency of irregular heart rhythms, called arrhythmias, at high activity levels. Having HCM meant every time I was dancing and training, my heart rate could reach levels that caused dangerously irregular rhythms. Too many arrhythmias meant a high risk to my life, which led me to give up spots in prestigious performances, competitions, and training events. There were no devices available that allowed me to take more control of my activity, and that’s what inspired the need to create one. Additionally, my co-founder, William, has Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), a heart condition also related to dangerously high heart rates that can lead to arrhythmias and therefore, understands this need as well.

How will Pulse Wearables impact the world?

1 in 500 people is diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, the heart condition that is the leading cause of sudden death today. People who have been diagnosed with this condition often have to put an end to active lifestyles because of the high risk of heart failure. Pulse Wearables is addressing this problem by putting the control in the hands of the user and in doing so, giving them peace of mind.

Our product will allow users who are more-active to increase their activity at a reasonable level to suit their personal ability, instead of abstaining out of fear and uncertainty. For users who are less-active, our product will allow them to be conscious of their restrictions when performing daily tasks that require physical exertion.

What are the next steps?

We currently have a grant from the MIT Launch entrepreneurship program (now called LaunchX) and a monetary award from the Diamond Challenge. We are additionally seeking $60,000 to roll out the initial 200 units for beta testing and initial sales. We plan to use various captive marketing channels such as Cardiomyopathy, sports, dance, and heart-specific health blogs to put our product in front of potential users. We plan to target HCM patients in the year 2019 and will expand to people with other forms of arrhythmias in 2020.

We are very excited and motivated to see the impact we can make with Pulse!

To learn more about Pulse Wearables visit their website, www.pulsewearables.com or follow them on Instagram @pulsewearables. To mentor or provide support, email info@i-investcompetition.com.