Check Out These Future Youth Female Entrepreneurs: Winners of the “Environmental Sustainability Design Challenge Hackathon”

The Girls Who Start annual ‘Environmental Sustainability Design Challenge Hackathon’ held Sunday, was the largest event to date, with over twenty teams, and included more than 100 middle school, high school, and college girls from around the world.

Washington, D.C., March 1, 2022 - The Girls Who Start annual ‘Environmental Sustainability Design Challenge Hackathon’ held Sunday, was the largest event to date, with over twenty teams, and included more than 100 middle school, high school, and college girls from around the world. Partnering with University Startups, who works to create pathways for success in school and beyond, and with support from the David & Mikel Blair Foundation, the annual event inspires and supports girls to be tomorrow’s leaders and entrepreneurs.

The twenty teams included members from the US, Canada, South Africa, India, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan. The teams spent the day creating an idea to solve a sustainability problem, developing a prototype, and producing a pitch to promote their model with an eye on a monetary prize. 

After a strong showing from all teams, the 1st place was awarded to sophomores from Maret High School in Washington, D.C. with the creation Mycelium Packaging and 2nd place was awarded to a senior from Bethesda Chevy Chase High School in Maryland and a college student from India for their creation of Hunger Bags.

“We are really proud of the work Girls Who Start is doing to inspire more women entrepreneurs and tomorrow’s leaders,” said Marc Steren, University Startups co-founder, “While top place winners receive a monetary reward, the skills obtained by applying the entrepreneurial mindset during this Hackathon will benefit every participant in their educational success and career progression.” 

The teams spent the morning creating the product idea and working in the virtual prototyping lab, and the afternoon developing their pitches and presenting them. Judges include: Saleema Vellani, Founder and CEO of Ripple Impact and University Startups instructor; Dayna Grayson, co-founder of Construct Capital; and Sharon Kedar, co-founder and partner of Northpond Ventures. 

Sophie Beck, Girls Who Start Director of the Hackathon and an 11th grader at the Maret School explains “it’s a fun day for everyone, but the really great thing is working together, sharing ideas, and inspiring more female entrepreneurs, investors, and women creating solutions to tomorrow’s problems.”  

“So few women are funded for their entrepreneurial ventures,” said Ariel Beck, Girls Who Start founder and national president, “We believe events like this Hackathon create an opportunity for more young women to experience entrepreneurship, increasing the likelihood that they will start and lead the companies of the future.”

About University Startups: Founded in 2020, University Startups is committed to creating opportunities for students and life learners to expand their minds beyond traditional curriculum by fostering an entrepreneurial mindset. The organization develops pathways to college and the workforce through access to college preparation, internships and new career opportunities through a social and inclusive entrepreneurship learning model led by professors from top tier universities. Learn more at: www.university-startups.com

About Girls Who Start: Girls Who Start is a nonprofit organization founded in 2016 with the mission to inspire middle school, high schools, and college girls across the globe to become entrepreneurs and leaders. With over 2500 members at over 50 schools across the country and internationally, the organization is focused on building a connected community of future female entrepreneurs and leaders who want to change the world. To learn more about Girls Who Start visit www.girlswhostart.org



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