Teen entrepreneurs win $5,000 for ideas to combat poverty

A group shot of the students who won first place.
Generation Connection would pair a senior living facility with a day care center.
Image Credit: Valerie Wojciechowski
Team photo of second-place winners.
Project Code is a coding training and job placement program marketed to teens coming from poverty.
Image Credit: Valerie Wojciechowski
Group photo of the third-place winners.
Recharge is an online job placement platform for people who are unemployed or with incomes below the poverty level.
Image Credit: Valerie Wojciechowski

A team of six area high school students won $2,500 and took first place at the 2019 Teen Entrepreneur Summer Academy (TESA) Final Showcase June 28.

Their idea, called Generation Connection, would pair a senior living facility with a day care center; senior residents would serve as day care attendants in exchange for living expenses.

The theme for this year's camp focused on poverty and ways to reduce economic and social inequity.

The summer camp, hosted by the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship in the Seidman College of Business, took place June 24-28 at the L. William Seidman Center and was sponsored by Amway. 

About 45 high school students from 24 schools across West Michigan spent the week learning how to create a startup company. The teen academy, designed for students in grades 9-12, includes interactive lectures, team-building activities, hands-on research, field trips and networking with local entrepreneurs. 

Grand Valley faculty, staff members, current college students and local entrepreneurs provided training in business idea development and marketing processes.

On the final day of camp, students pitched their ideas to a panel of local business professionals for a chance to win prizes totaling $5,000. 

A team of six students won second place and $1,500 for their idea called Project Code, a coding training and job placement program marketed to teens coming from poverty. 

A team of five students won third place and $1,000 for their idea called Recharge, an online job placement platform for people who are unemployed or with incomes below the poverty level.

For more information about TESA, visit www.gvsu.edu/cei or contact Shorouq Almallah at (616) 331-7256.