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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!

19-Year-Old Penn State Student Uses 3D Printing to Keep Headphone Cords Tangle-Free

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Shemar Coombs, 19, from Pennsylvania State University in Philadelphia, PA, is one of this year’s competitors in the i.Invest Competition. After dealing with tangled or lost headphones for far too long, Shemar came up with a solution to this problem with his company, Rap It Up.

Tell us a little about your business.

Rap It Up is an iPhone case that allows customers to store their headphones safely without having to worry about them getting tangled or damaged. This case features a U-shaped channel on the side to easily and neatly store headphones. Designed with 3D printing, Rap It Up is sleek and sophisticated, so customers won’t have to worry about toting around a bulky phone case.

What inspired the creation of Rap It Up?

While Shemar was in a Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship class, he was given the task of coming up with a business idea that would make an impact in the world. It just so happens that in the same week he was given the assignment, he learned about 3D printing and its capabilities. With this knowledge in mind, he set out to put an end to the annoyance of tangled and damaged headphones once and for all.

What challenges will Rap It Up face?

The smartphone accessory market is very competitive and crowded, so Rap It Up may have to spend a substantial amount of capital on marketing to secure distribution. Although there are a few competitors in the market who have similar products, each of them has disadvantages. One of the competitors has a much bulkier design that makes it inconvenient to carry, while the other does not allow customers to use their own headphones. Once 3D printing becomes more mainstream, Rap It Up may face other competitors who also want to take advantage of this new technology.

How will Rap It Up impact the world?

Not only does Rap It Up solve a common problem that customers face on a daily basis, Shemar will also use his platform to better the world around him. Shemar is passionate about recycling, so when his business is up and running, he plans on encouraging customers to recycle old, unused phones. Customers who follow Shemar’s lead by recycling will be rewarded with a slight percentage off of the purchase price of a Rap It Up case.

What are the next steps for Rap It Up?

Shemar hopes to secure funding after this competition to help Rap It Up cover patenting and marketing costs. Because of the competitive landscape of the phone accessory market, Shemar plans on dedicating the majority of any funds to building a strong brand presence.

To stay abreast of Rap It Up’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, Shemar!