LARGO, Fla. – The Pinellas Education Foundation awarded $30,000 to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of its Next Generation Entrepreneurs and Next Generation Tech Programs at an awards ceremony on April 25 attended by more than 150 people. At the event, 1st place for each program received $10,000, 2nd place received $3,500 and 3rd place received $1,500. Winners can use the funds to either start their business or to go to college or technical school. Finalists in both programs took part in many different workshops and mentor opportunities with local entrepreneurs and tech companies in order to hone their product concepts. Teams were able to apply to both programs if their projects fit the specifications for each program.
The winners in the Next Generation Entrepreneur Program were:
1st place: Skystream – Lakewood High School – Christian De Napoli 11th Grade, Harry Sauers 12th Grade and Marek Zebrowski 12th Grade
Product Summary: “Our product is first of its kind, to mend seamlessly the experience of HMD (head mounted displays) and the remote operation of drones to allow for a more immersive experience rather than a standard monitor.”
2nd place: Gibbs Bucks Early Bird Express Truck – Gibbs High School, Team leaders: Destiny Perkins 11th Grade and Kayla Egulf 10th Grade
Product Summary: “Gibbs Early Bird Express is a coffee truck business that serves beverages early in the morning. We will serve the Gibbs High School neighborhood zones. We are preventing the rush hour accidents in the morning with a Coffee Truck in various locations around the community. We are working on an Early Bird Express App that can take Point of Sale into our online system and provides the customer with a GPS and an ETA so that their coffee made by the exact time they will arrive.”
3rd place: Downtown – Lakewood High School – Katie McGilvery 12th Grade
Product Summary: “My service is an app that helps user find events from around St. Petersburg and combines weather, traffic, and ticket purchasing to expedite the process to attend events. It also uses filters to help users find events that are tailored to their interests.”
The winners in the Next Generation Tech program were:
1st place: Project Sway – Lakewood High School – Benjamin Fischer 11th Grade, Christian De Napoli 11th Grade, Darin Debrestian 11th Grade and Robert Bolles 11th Grade
Product Summary: “Our product will be aimed at people who require wheelchairs. It develops a solution for the issue of wheelchair mobility by using a different wheel setup. This will better allow people with wheelchairs to move around urban environments. By using an app to control it, we can both decrease costs for it, and implement additional features for people with other disabilities, such as voice control for those who may not have the dexterity (people with Parkinson’s, among others) to control it normally.”
2nd place: NaviGo – Lakewood High School – Raymond Wong 12th Grade, Israel Graveran 11th Grade and Kevin Lai 12th Grade
Product Summary: “There are currently no public transportation apps that send live updates for PSTA buses, making it harder for riders to catch buses if the bus is early or they are late. The product will be a mobile application on iOS and Android platforms. It will use the RidePSTA API to pull real-time data on bus routes.”
3rd place: Metero Games – Career Academies of Seminole – Mary Powell 10th Grade, David Fletcher 10th Grade and Ashton Anderson 9th Grade
Product Summary: “Many people in coastal communities take for granted how important it is to prepare for hurricanes. Some people don’t think that hurricanes will be that bad. Some don’t believe that the hurricane will impact them, so they don’t adequately prepare. In fact, 32 civilians died during hurricane Irma from causes such as drowning and blunt force injuries that could have been prevented if they had evacuated or prepared correctly. With our serious game, we hope to change people’s attitudes concerning hurricanes and give life-saving preparedness tips. We will give the player choices and consequences during situations that frequently happen in hurricanes, and guide them on how they can effectively prevent and prepare for these potentially fatal situations. Essentially, our serious game could save lives.”
Now in its sixth year, the Foundation’s Next Generation Entrepreneurs program celebrates the innovative ideas from high schools students in Pinellas County. This year, more than 37 applications were submitted and seven were chosen as finalists.
The Foundation’s Next Generation Tech program is in its third year and had 30 applications from high school students in Pinellas County. Projects consisted of phone apps, videogames or other plans that encompassed programming and software design.
About The Pinellas Education Foundation
The Pinellas Education Foundation is an independent, non-governmental not-for-profit established in 1986. The Foundation’s mission is to enhance and improve educational opportunities in Pinellas County Schools. Well known Pinellas Education Foundation programs include: Academies of Pinellas, Enterprise Village, Finance Park, Take Stock in Children Scholarships, Youth Connect and Teacher Classroom Grants.