Category Archives: i.Invest Nat’l Youth Entrepreneur Business Competition

17-Year-Old NY-based Entrepreneur Develops Mobile App to Prep Students for SAT, ACT Exams

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Akhilesh Khakhar, 17, of Brooklyn, NY is one of this year’s competitors in the i.Invest National Youth Entrepreneur Business Competition. Akhilesh’s company, PrepUP: The New SAT and ACT Prep App, is revolutionizing the world of testing by bringing students together on social media platforms to study for the SAT and ACT.

Tell us about your business.

PrepUP: The New SAT and ACT Prep App is a free iOS test preparation app that provides an interactive, live, head-to-head match between its users. Users can take customized ACT and SAT practice tests, solve Questions of the Day, and view in-depth answers and explanations to thousands of questions.

What inspired the creation of PrepUP?

Two years ago, I suffered from a concussion that caused my brain to work and think differently. After months of physical therapy, I discovered that genuine interest and competitions were important in learning. I took this newly found knowledge and applied it to the development of a testing platform that would allow me to impact how high-school students studied for college-preparatory exams. I am proud to say that I am a 99-percentile scorer.

Test preparation is incredibly expensive for most households, yet is necessary to achieve the high scores required by top universities. PrepUP provides the service at no charge for everyone who needs it while bringing people together to study and compete in a fun and educational way.

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How will PrepUP impact the world?

PrepUP’s impact within the field of education and college-prep testing is groundbreaking. The venture will make B2B connections with established test preparation companies and school districts throughout the country. Students can download the application for free as part of their syllabus and lesson plans with its unique ability to personalize practice tests and tailor-made Questions of the Day. PrepUP is making studying fun and free at the same time.

What are the next steps for PrepUP?

Earlier this year, PrepUP became available at the iTunes app store. PrepUP is seeking to raise $50,000 to optimize the application and make it available for all mobile platforms.

To download the app, go to: PrepUP Website

To stay abreast of PrepUP’s progress in the i.Invest Competition, sign up for our newsletter at www.i-investcompetition.com. To mentor or invest in the company, email info@i-investcompetition.com.

Good luck, Akhilesh!

17-Year-Old Social Entrepreneurs Set to Create ‘Cause’ Apparel to Raise Environmental Awareness

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Jason Kao and Chauncey Lau, both 17, of New York, NY, are one of the teams competing in this year’s i.Invest National Youth Entrepreneur Business Competition. As co-founders of Face the Facts (FtF) and students at Stuyvesant High School, Jason and Chauncey combined their passion for environmental awareness and fashion to create message t-shirts to support social causes.

Tell us about your business.

FtF creates apparel for environmentally conscious consumers and display graphics in a way that supports an environmental issue while raising awareness. For example, if someone wanted to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of carbon dioxide emissions on ocean acidification, instead of purchasing traditional activist apparel, they would buy FtF’s Ocean Acidification t-shirt, a scatter plot of shellfish and plankton populations versus world carbon dioxide emissions. The plot would show an obvious negative linear correlation between sea life and carbon dioxide emissions. Despite using complicated algorithms to create the graphic, the data visualization of FtF’s apparel are not only intuitive to the eye, but bring awareness to social and environmental issues facing the global community.

What inspired the creation of FtF?

Our goal is to change the aura of mistrust created in both modern-day media and politics regarding environmentalism and climate change by incorporating art, design, statistics, and storytelling into our clothing line.

What challenges will FtF need to overcome to be successful?

FtF’s target audience lives in New York City, a fast-paced cultural Mecca with a population of 11 million. Inhabitants of the five Boroughs are bombarded and overstimulated by both media and social marketing daily. FtF will create eye-catching graphics that grab the attention of activists.

How will FtF impact the world?

FtF will provide activists everywhere the opportunity to display irrefutable and indisputable evidence regarding their cause, and combat skepticism to the misinformed public.

What are the next steps for FtF?

FtF’s goal is to raise funds to start the production of our apparel line.

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

Good luck, Jason and Chauncey!

Birmingham Brother Duo Turn Love of Music into Business Venture

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Timothy Huffman, 19, and Wesley Huffman, 17, of Birmingham, AL, are one of the teams competing in this year’s i.Invest National Youth Entrepreneur Business Competition. The brothers took their performance talents, avid love of music, and eccentric repertoire and created their family-friendly ensemble called, Official Clutch Band.

Tell us about your business.

Official Clutch Band performs a wide genre of music ranging from bebop, jazz, smooth jazz, R&B classics and Motown hits. The band, accompanied by two lead vocalists, provides both live music and DJ/party music services for one affordable fee.

What inspired the creation of Official Clutch Band?

Our love of music fuels our passion to excel in the music business. Inspired by the late Dr. Frank Adams, Sr. a charter member of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and achiever in the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, we want to carry on his legacy of providing good music for people to enjoy.

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How will Official Clutch Band impact the world?

Although the target audience lives in Birmingham, Alabama, the band hopes to demonstrate music’s social impact by exposing and engaging audiences to different genres during each performance.

What are the next steps for Official Clutch Band?

Securing a fan base and making music accessible will be the key to the band’s success. The next steps are to make our music available on iTunes, Spotify, LiveStream, Facebook, YouTube and SoundCloud for promotions and exposure. Also, we are seeking $10,000 in investments. The funds will be used to purchase equipment, distribution, promotion, advertising and sponsorship.

To learn more about Official Clutch Band visit: www.officialclutchband.com.

To stay abreast of Official Clutch Band’s progress in the i.Invest Competition, sign up for our newsletter at www.i-investcompetition.com. To mentor or invest in the company, email info@i-investcompetition.com.

Good luck, Timothy and Wesley!

 

18-Year-Old Philadelphia Entrepreneur Seeks to Revolutionize travel in Guinea, West Africa

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Tarata Konneh, 18, of Philadelphia, PA, is one of this year’s competitors in the i.Invest National Youth Entrepreneur Business Competition. Tarata’s enthusiasm for travel spun the globe before landing in Guinea, West Africa, where his company, Konneh Transports, will help traveling entrepreneurs reach their destination.

Tell us about your business.

Konneh Transports’ concept is based in solving the problem of easy and convenient 520-mile travel between Conakry and N’zerekore for entrepreneurs on business trips. The company’s mission is to provide comfort and a healthy traveling environment with licensed, up-to-code drivers, and inspected vehicles as well as enhance opportunities and accessibility in the Guinea region of West Africa.

What inspired the creation of Konneh Transports?

Konneh Transports was created after I took several trips to Guinea. While traveling like a local, I experienced harsh conditions in unreliable vehicles, and heard the laments and complaints of fellow travelers varying from dangerous conditions in the beds of trucks, overcrowding, and sanitary concerns.

How will Konneh Transports impact the world?

Konneh Transports’ accessibility will help expand the job market, create jobs, help natives secure employment, as well as invest in their community.

What are the next steps for Konneh Transports?

The company is seeking to raise $65,000 to purchase a vehicle, video monitoring inside the vehicle and to cover other expenses. In the coming years, we will work to expand services throughout the countries in West Africa, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Mali.

To learn more about Konneh Transports, visit: www.konnehtransports.com

To stay abreast of Konneh Transports’ progress in the i.Invest Competition, sign up for our newsletter at www.i-investcompetition.com. To mentor or invest, email info@i-investcompetition.com.

Good luck, Tarata!

VA-based Youth Entrepreneurs Develop Interactive Game Addressing Immigration Crisis in U.S.

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Youth entrepreneurs Daniel Mousavi (left), 14 and brother, Aidan (right)

Daniel Mousavi, 14, of Great Falls, VA is one of this year’s competitors in the i.Invest National Youth Entrepreneur Business Competition. Daniel, along with his younger brother Aidan, are addressing the immigration crisis around the globe through the development of an interactive board game and mobile application with their company, Software Flow, Inc.

Tell us about your business.

Software Flow created a storytelling platform designed to teach politics and history to children and adult players. The company offers two interactive games in Android and iPhone called, Immigrant’s Nightmare and Immigrant Challenge. In Immigrant’s Nightmare, players from different corner countries are attempting to cross the U.S. border (as center country) in a snake and ladder game format. Players are forced to go back and forth to their home country to collect assets and to earn an education before crossing the border. In Immigrant Challenge, players can attempt to enter other developed countries like Canada, France, Germany, in addition to the U.S.

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What inspired the creation of Immigrant’s Nightmare and Immigrant Challenge?

The games were inspired by a school project Aidan was assigned in June of 2016. The boys developed the game as a response to the heated presidential debate surrounding immigration and the proposed building of a wall along the border between U.S. and Mexico. Together they created a prototype of the board game and set out to test a mobile application to educate the public about the issue in an engaging and interactive way. Fueled by the current social/political climate, Software Flow and its products hope to generate even more success than other socially motivated games, like Monopoly.

How will Software Flow impact the world?

The creators of Software Flow hope to influence the children of today, who will be the policy-makers of tomorrow. Out of the 61 million immigrants in the U.S., 11.5 have entered the country illegally, desperate to reside in the “Land of Opportunity” and have their civil and human rights protected by our country’s laws. The multimedia games provided by Software Flow hope to influence and educate the approximately 244 million international migrants and 20 million refugees worldwide.

What are the next steps?

Software Flow has already sold 30 units. The company plans to raise funds through crowdfunding efforts on platforms like Kickstarter, who have raised over $52.1 million dollars for board game creators. They seek to sell to consumers via print-on-demand options on their website. The creators also plan to promote their product on websites like Game Crafters and to seek partnerships with companies such as Northstar, attend industry trade shows, and collaborate with educational programs.

To learn more about Software Flow games visit, www.immigrantsnightmare.com or www.immigrantchallenge.com.

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

Good luck, Daniel!

 

 

 

 

i.Invest 2016 Winner, Beacon Health, Raises $225K in Pre-Seed Funding

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Founders, Shrenik Jain & Ravi Shah (center & right); Chief Data Scientist Satya Prateek Bommaraju (left)

In 2016, 19-year-old founder of Beacon Health, Shrenik Jain, took home the top prize from the i.Invest National Youth Business Competition with his mobile app designed to help people struggling with mental illness. Since winning the competition and being named the i.Invest 2016 Youth Business of the Year, Jain, Co-Founder Ravi Shah and Chief Data Scientist Satya Prateek Bommaraju, have diligently worked to transform their innovative idea into a successful health IT business.

Beacon Health’s mobile app has captured the attention of investors and customers from public and private sectors. The platform allows users to create an anonymous profile, search for the issue most relevant to them and instantly be connected with other Beacon Health members with similar mental health challenges as well as trained professionals. The platform offers anonymity and support by utilizing a natural language processing algorithm that can detect vulgar or malicious content and therefore prevent cyber bullying.

Since winning the i.Invest top prize which included $2,000 cash and a host of in-kind awards last October, the Beacon Health team has raised $225,000 in pre-seed funding. They will open a seed round with the goal of raising $600,000 in May-June. The ideal investors would be focused in healthcare and bring potential deployment sites in addition to capital.

The current backers include, the National Institute of Health (NIH), Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO). NIH is mentoring the team in an effort to help them secure SBIR grants.

The Beacon Health staff has also grown. They currently have 10 employees, and are considering opening a second office in Boston, which will focus on research and development. They have signed 9 LOIs, some from major cities such as Denver and Nashville, to deploy their product once the pilots conclude.

Beacon Health’s app is live at several pilot sites, including Johns Hopkins University and Mindoula Health.

For more information on how to connect with Beacon Health email info@i-investcompetition.com or go to, http://www.beaconhealth.co/.

Congratulations, Shrenik, Ravi & Satya!

Meet i.Invest Judge and Entrepreneur, Dr. Tamecka Knight

In 2016, Dr. Tamecka Knight, owner of Premier Pediatrics in Houston, Texas, volunteered as an i.Invest National Youth Business Competition judge and mentor. In 2017, she expanded her role to include joining the board of directors for the LifeSkills Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources for i.Invest Competitions. In her own words, Dr. Knight discusses why she supports youth entrepreneurship.
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Tell us about your current position, why you do what you do and how it prepares you to mentor youth and youth entrepreneurs?
I am CEO of a rapidly growing pediatric medical practice in the Houston Metropolitan area. Not only do I own the practice; I also provide care to about 4,000 patients yearly. Because I work exclusively with pediatric patients, I see the creativity, the entrepreneurial spirit and the need for mentorship.
What three things should all young entrepreneurs be prepared for before they create a business?
Know your vision! Know how to handle failure. Simply, work hard.  In order to grow a business you have to know your growth potential. Have a plan, follow that plan, but be amendable to change when the plan does not go as planned. Failures during some aspects to the business development process will and need to occur to keep you growing. Surmount it and continue towards your vision. Lastly, work hard towards your vision. Hard work pays off every time. Failure is not an option.
Tell us about your biggest business failure and success.
My biggest failure was believing everyone would understand my vision, and therefore, everything would fall into place. You must know your vision and be able to sell it to everyone. Knowing that failure is not an option is the key to success.
Why is nurturing entrepreneurship important to you?
Entrepreneurship must be fostered early on in our youth. Our youth have the most creative minds and vision than any other generation. Equipping them with an entrepreneurial mindset encourages not only self-development in the youth, but serves to build the community and the economy.
Name the educational classes, business programs or real-world experiences that played a key role in your success and why.
Attending the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Starting Your Own Business classes allowed me to network with like-minded people who were on the same journey of learning the technical side of making our dreams and visions become reality.
Special thanks to Dr. Knight for her dedication to i.Invest Competitions. To learn more about the competition visit www.i-investcompetition.com.

2016 i.Invest National Youth Business Competition Winners Announced

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Businesses from left to right: MoTrack, Beacon, RapidFire & Hopes for the Best.

PR Solutions LLC today announced the winners of the first annual i.Invest National Youth Business Competition. Mentored by a group of volunteer business and academic leaders from organizations, including Google, SEI Investments and Johns Hopkins University, four teams were selected from a pool of more than 25 to compete in a six-month web-based competition in order to qualify for the top prize.

This year’s winners are:

  • First Place Beacon (formerly Atrium). Developed by Shrenik Jain, a 19-year-old Baltimore, MD resident. Beacon is a mobile platform that offers anonymity and support to those suffering from mental health issues. Prize: $2,000 non-equity investment, title of Invest 2016 Youth Business of the Year and the opportunity to pitch at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.
  • Second Place – MoTrack Therapy. Developed by Rahul Yerrabelli, 18, Benjamin Pikus, 18, Himanshu Dashora, 18, Parth Singh, 19 and Adam Polevoy,19, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. MoTrack is a virtual reality software that has revolutionized the way patients can receive physical therapy for hand and wrist injuries. Prize: $1,000 non-equity investment
  • Third Place – RapidFire. Developed by Marc Baghadjian, 17, from Brunswick School in Greenwich, CT. RapidFire is an automated air-soft gun clip with the capacity to increase bullets to 400 per round, making the air-soft sport experience completely hands-free for users. Prize: $500 non-equity investment
  • Community Investment Award – Hopes for the Best. Developed by Cheyenne Rhone, 15, from West Mifflin High School in West Mifflin, PA. Hopes for the Best designs a fashion survival bracelet made from a special material called para cord 550 that can safely hold up to 500 lbs. Prize: $250 non-equity investment;opportunity to observe a BlueTree Allied Angels screening meeting and to participate in a one-hour consulting session with serial entrepreneur and executive director/chairman, Don Morrison; face-to-face legal consultation from Cherin Law Firm in Pittsburgh, PA and e-commerce consultation from LaToya C. Staten & Associates in Baltimore, MD.

In addition, all the winners will receive a one-hour marketing consultation with PR Solutions LLC; the opportunity to be a vendor and/or speaker during the #EYECON Youth Conference in May 2017 at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD; and, the opportunity to participate in a “Ask the Start-Up Attorney” no-fee virtual consultation with Cherin Law Firm.

“To say the competition exceeded our expectation is an understatement,” said executive director, Michelle Jackson. “We set out to create a mentoring program focused on bridging the gap between youth entrepreneurs with viable products and experienced business leaders. However, what we ultimately have is a way to shine a light on creative ideas being developed by the next generation of innovators – youth who learn through this process that no matter their age, geographical location or educational accomplishments, creating a great product can transcend all perceived limitations.”

The i.Invest competition is open to youth 13 to 19 years old with a demonstrable product or service. During the three rounds of scoring, applicants are required to submit a business concept profile, business plan, pitch video and participate in on-line group coaching with select judges.

“i.Invest doesn’t end with the awarding of prizes,” said Jackson. “Now that the winners have completed the process, they will continue to have access to our mentors. We are here to help them reach their personal and professional goals.”

The 2017 i.Invest competition will be launched in the coming months. To receive event updates and sponsorship information visit the i.Invest website or contact Michelle Jackson at mjackson@i-investcompetition.com.

Special thanks to the i.Invest 2016 Judges & Mentors

Artis Keith Turner, Serial Entrepreneur, President of TurnGroup Technologies, LLC, 2015 Innovation Fellowship for the Venture Café & YouthCITIES Youth

Craig Dixon, AWS Educate, Amazon Web Services

Curtis H. Austin, Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton

Daraius Irani, Associate VP, DIAR of Towson University

David Tucker, Jr., Founder & Executive Director, On The Set Summer Film Camp

Don Morrison, Chairman of Deal Flow, BlueTree Allied Angels

Dr. Mansur Hasib, Professor and Author, University System of Maryland

Dr. Tamecka Knight, CEO & Owner, Premier Pediatrics of Houston

James Parren Courtney II, Owner, Courtney Consultants, LLC

Jennifer Mrzlack Co-founder, Naturi

Jerry Cozewith, Director of Development, Sarah Heinz House

Julie Kantor, CEO and Founder, Twomentor LLC

Ketaki Desai, Executive Director, eCenter@LindenPointe

LaToya Staten, Chief Collaborator, LaToya C. Staten & Associates

Matthew Miessau, Analyst, Epidarex Capital

Mike Capsambelis, Product Manager, Google

Mojdeh Bahar, Assistant Administer for Technology Transfer, USDA

Omar S. Muhammad, “Intrapreneur” & Director of the Entrepreneurial Development & Assistance Center (EDAC), Morgan State University

Professor Jim Liew, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School

Regina Tillery, Director and CIO, Maryland Department of Commerce

Roderick Square, General Electric Hitachi

Susan R. Ramonat, Business Development Executive, Chief Risk Officer, SEI Investment

Timothy Taylor, CPA

Vernon Lee, Founder, Brightwood Management Partners, LLC

About PR Solutions LLC

PR Solutions LLC is a strategic marketing and corporate event planning firm that specializes in working with new and established ventures to build viable business models and to integrate innovative marketing tools into for-profit and non-profit business strategies. PR Solutions is the parent company of the i.Invest competition. To learn more, visit http://www.prsolutions123.com.

13-Year-Old Pittsburgh Youth Entrepreneur Uses All-Natural Ingredients to Create Lip Balm

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A’Niyah Dixon, 13, from Manchester Academic Charter School in Pittsburgh, PA, is one of this year’s competitors in the i.Invest Competition. With her business, Winter’s Heart, A’Niyah hopes to put an end to chapped lips once and for all.

Tell us a little about your business.

Winter’s Heart is a bubble gum lip balm that A’Niyah plans on marketing to both females and males. Unlike other lip balms on the market, A’Niyah crafts her products with safe ingredients including food dye, petroleum jelly, bees wax and bubble gum. To appeal to everyone, the lip balms are clear and sold in different colors; therefore, males can purchase a product traditionally sold to women.

What inspired the creation of Winter’s Heart?

After trying a number of different brands, A’Niyah became frustrated that no lip balm on the market was able to cure her dry, chapped lips. When she began to research the industry, she was shocked to see the ingredients in some of the big name products on the market, so she decided to create a safe lip balm that would protect and heal damaged lips.

What challenges will Winter’s Heart face?

The cosmetic market is incredibly competitive and dominated by big name brands that hold a large market share. A’Niyah will have to invest a significant amount of capital into marketing to expand outside of her community. Because she hopes to market to both females and males, A’Niyah will face a challenge presenting lip balm in a way that is appealing to both genders. She may have to consider expanding her product line to include other scents besides bubble gum to attract a larger customer base.

How will Winter’s Heart impact the world?

A’Niyah hopes to solve a problem that many people face on a daily basis: dry, chapped lips. She also hopes to serve as an inspiration to her community and prove that kids, even at the young age of 13, are able to get out there and make a difference in the world with hard work and dedication.

What are the next steps for Winter’s Heart?

A’Niyah hopes to secure funding to expand her business in the near future. She plans on using the funds to pay for advertising and also to expand her existing product line. She hopes to also have business cards created so she can pass them out in her community and spread the word about Winter’s Heart.

To stay abreast of Winter Heart’s progress in the i.Invest competition, visit www.i-investcompetition.com and register for the i.Invest newsletter. Also, to provide support as a mentor or investor, please email info@i-investcompetition.com.

Good luck, A’Niyah!

13-Year-Old Pittsburgh Youth Entrepreneur Hopes to Beautify Your Garden, One Pot at a Time

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Andre Rhone, 13, from West Mifflin Middle School in West Mifflin, PA, is one of this year’s competitors in the i.Invest Competition. Andre has always thought of himself as a creative person, and with his new business, Andre’s Plants, he finally gets to put these skills to good use.

Tell us a little about your business.

Andre created a decorative pot business so people in his community can display their potted plants or flowers in a beautiful setting. He uses items from around the house, such as ribbon and candy, to create unique, eye-catching designs that are so appealing, you just might not pay attention to the blooming flowers in the pot! After selling these decorative pots at community events, Andre realized that the demand for his product was high, and hopes to grow Andre’s Plants in the future.

What inspired the creation of Andre’s Plants?

After seeing so many plain pots in his home and around his community, Andre became frustrated. He looked at these pots as a canvas to design beautiful things with unique objects. Andre decided that he would be the one to use his creativity to transform the potting industry, one plant at a time! With his mom’s financial support, he began to purchase pots and decorate them with household items and candy pieces, and Andre’s Plants was born.

What challenges will Andre’s Plants face?

Each design that Andre creates is unique, which places a lot of pressure on him to come up with different ideas for items to use and how to place them. Because potted plants are a somewhat seasonal item, Andre’s pots may see fluctuations in sales, especially during the fall and winter months.

How will Andre’s Plants impact the world?

Andre’s mission is simple: to make the world a more beautiful place! Flowers and plants are designed to spruce up gardens and homes, but with decorative pots, they’ll be even more beautiful.

What are the next steps for Andre’s Plants?

Andre is currently not seeking investors for his business; however, he does hope to expand his business’s presence in the local community and on a larger scale. Eventually, Andre would like to open an Etsy store to sell his pots to customers around the world. Selling on Etsy would allow him to maintain low operating costs while reaching a huge audience.

To stay abreast of Andre’s Plants’ progress in the i.Invest competition, visit www.i-investcompetition.com and register for the i.Invest newsletter. Also, to provide support as a mentor or investor, please email info@i-investcompetition.com.

Good luck, Andre!