TiE Atlanta, the non-profit entrepreneurial support organization that works with founders at all stages of life, is hosting sixteen university and high school entrepreneur teams in a pitch competition for cold, hard cash. It’s part of their TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) program that aims to bring business-building skills to Georgia youth.
“TiE Atlanta supports entrepreneurs in all stages, all industries, and all ages,” says Amyn Sadruddin, program director of TiE Atlanta. “And, high schoolers and university students are future leaders, future consumers, and future disruptors. With TYE High School and University, we are able to invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders and inspire them to continue on their entrepreneurial journey.”
The nine high school teams have been built through TiE’s youth entrepreneurship program, while the seven university teams were selected from 17 qualified applicants in a previous qualifying round.
TYE’s high school-focused program begins at the start of the school year in September and connects student teams with business mentors that help them launch and scale a product. Since 2010, TYE has over 350 graduates.
To build on this success, in 2013 the organization launched TYE University (TYE-U) to support Georgia university students. That program has brought together 150 students in 55 teams from 18 schools.
This year TYE-U partnered with Georgia State’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute to pair mentors with student teams.
The winning TYE high school team will get $2,500 and go on to compete at the TiE Global conference later this year. TiE Atlanta currently holds the reigning championship, with the winner of last year’s local competition taking home the global prize of $15,000.
Sadruddin says these students’ businesses will be judged on a number of factors including customer validation, clear articulation of product or service, business model, product-market fit, and more. This year’s TYE high school teams range from an innovative umbrella manufacturer to an Ayurvedic product company to an Amazon business.
“Additionally, the high school teams are also evaluated on teamwork, presentation skills and presentations,” he says.
The TYE-U competitors will be judged similarly — opportunity, value proposition, operational and management credibility, financial understanding, and more. Amongst those competing are a dog breeder matching platform, a micro-garden, and an innovative tattooing method.
The TYE-U first place winner will receives $5,000, second place $3,000, and third place $2,000 in cash, along with access to startup services.
Photos provided by TiE Atlanta