University Startups Boot Camp for TiE Young Entrepreneurs Leads to Top Prize in Global Competition

Washington, DC,  September 5th, 2023: University Startups entrepreneur boot camp sparks innovation for high school students in the Washington D.C. region and a global award! The TiE Young Entrepreneur Chapter in DC worked with University Startups’ Entrepreneur Mindset program to teach 50 students working in 10 teams from D.C., Maryland and Virginia as they prepared for a global competition. One of the DC teams took home awards for 2nd Runner up as well as the Best Team Effort.

“The University Startups entrepreneur program was an absolute success! These 10 teams competed with 35 others from around the world. They were very motivated and I love working with kids because they have unbridled energy, motivation and they don’t put limits on their ideas. I have seen them mature through the University Startups’ entrepreneur boot camp program,” said Srini Bayireddy, TiE DC Chapter Board Member and student mentor. “While winning is a goal, it’s just as important for the students to build confidence, learn how to collaborate and see their ideas come to life.  It is very gratifying to watch the process and for the winning team to get rewarded,” said Bayireddy. 

The winning business idea was a product called SafeStep. The idea behind it was to provide a safe route for women walking alone, for older people who might live alone or anyone who wanted some added security. The business idea included a mobile app with software integrated with the police, as well as an alarm. The students also incorporated an additional device, like a pendant, which would enable users to alert authorities if their phone was out of reach. 

“They thought through the idea, learned how to collaborate and highlight the strengths of each team member. This team worked so well together they won an additional award for the Best Team Effort,” says Bayireddy.

The University Startups program is a challenging, college-level, startup design course that uses the Lean Startup methodology. The program taught students how to develop new ventures and how to start for-profit social impact companies. The class taught them the basics of starting a business, kept them on track with assignments and provided resources at their disposal. For the competition, they had to design a prototype, pitch their idea, present a powerpoint and answer questions from judges.

Students learn and apply Entrepreneurial Mindset Skills while building new ventures using fundamental start-up design principles through the University Startups curriculum. This course provided an opportunity to develop collaboration, leadership, and public speaking skills. On average 8 out of 10 University Startups students feel more confident in their abilities after taking this course.

The TiE Young Entrepreneurs Global Final Competition was in San Diego where University Startups SVP of Corporate Development, Laura Lee Williams, presented the prize for first place.

 “The energy was palpable and these students truly hit the mark with their thought-provoking, socially conscious, and noteworthy products and services. It was evident that TiE's initiatives to inspire, challenge and empower these students to become the next generation of entrepreneurs, businesses and community leaders resonated with them all. I was in awe, inspired, and keenly aware that with students like these, there is no doubt the future of the next generation is strong and in good hands!”, said Williams.

About University Startups: Founded in 2020, University Startups is committed to creating opportunities for students and lifelong learners to expand their worlds beyond a traditional curriculum. The organization empowers students by fostering an entrepreneurial mindset, which helps students to think creatively and find ways to translate their passions into real-world experiences. Whether students want to start a business, attend college, or find a job, University Startups uses proprietary instructional courses and groundbreaking technologies to get them there. Expert instructors from top-tier universities design all classes. 

About TiE Global: TiE Global is a nonprofit organization devoted to entrepreneurs in all industries, at all stages, from incubation, throughout the entrepreneurial life cycle. With a global reach and a local focus, the heart of TiE efforts lies in its five foundational programs, – Mentoring, Networking, Education, Funding, and Incubation. Approximately 2,000 students from around the world vied for making it to the TiE Young Entrepreneurs Global Finals 30+ chapters around the world. Our finalists were from India, Vancouver, London, Mexico, and the following states: Florida, North Carolina, San Francisco, San Diego, Iowa, and Washington D.C. TiE’s ultimate goal is to foster entrepreneurship, creating wealth for both the entrepreneur and the local communities.

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