09/17/2013 07:26 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

NFTE and NYCEDC Pioneer in Building Tech Entrepreneurship Program for High School Students

SproutEd, Inspyer U and Mealr advance to compete as finalists in NYC Generation Tech Demo Night

Last Tuesday, nine teams of high school students demoed mobile app prototypes and pitched business ideas to a panel of tech-industry experts as a part of the semi-final round of competition in this year's NYC Generation Tech program. NYC Generation Tech, a youth tech-entrepreneurship program developed in partnership by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and the New York City Economic Development Corporation, helps to cultivate homegrown technology talent in New York City and is sponsored by of Microsoft, MasterCard Worldwide, and Verizon Foundation.


GenTech competitors, mentors, and NYCEDC's Julie Chan

This year's NYC Generation Tech program kicked off on July 8 with the start of a two-week summer boot camp held at LIU Brooklyn. Led by NFTE staffers Jordan Runge, Jaimie Li, and Ron Summers, the program's forty-three high school students from all five of the City's boroughs, learned the principles of entrepreneurship and the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Students are self-selected into teams of four to five to build a mobile app that improves education or city life for students in New York City and to craft a business plan and pitch deck to support their app idea. After the boot camp, students continued to attend classroom sessions with NFTE staff and met up for mentoring sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings with an incredibly talented cohort of mentors from NYC-based tech companies.


GenTech mentors excitedly tweet the semi-final competition results

All of this student preparation led to last week's semi-finals hosted by Quirky, a community-based product development startup. From this round of competition emerged three teams that will compete as finalists at NYC Generation Tech Demo Night on Sept. 19 at AppNexus. Each team is vying for a first place prize of $5,000, an opportunity to pitch to partners at the venture capital firm, Union Square Ventures, and a logo and brand consultation from Harley & Co.


NFTE's Terry Bowman, Jordan Runge, and Jaimie Li, and NYCEDC's Julie Chan with this year's GenTech finalist teams.
Not pictured: Faiza Issa, Miquela Craytor, Eric Gertler, Ron Summers

The three finalists are:

Inspyer U
Inspyer U is an educational app that helps prepare and educate young students for the New York State Math Exam. Through fun, interactive, crime-solving games, players will strengthen their math skills as they solve crimes at each level. Inspyer U inspires test-taking confidence and success by way of fun crime solving.

Mealr is a mobile app that encourages a healthier lifestyle in young adults through social competition. The app is designed to monitor a user's daily food and water intake. When users reach their daily goals, other users prompt them to take a snapshot of their food choices to prove their claim. The goal is a competitive and fun environment to inspire healthier living.

SproutEd is an education app designed for students and their peers to collaborate, organize, and discuss school related topics and events. Through SproutEd's communication and organizational tools, students can work together to deepen their understanding of academic topics and effectively manage their time. Ultimately, SproutEd will create a student-friendly environment that fosters learning out of the classroom.

The student teams will be pitching demoing their apps and pitching their ideas to an esteemed panel of judges that includes Michael Donnelly (SVP MasterCard Worldwide), Cameron Evans (CTO of Education at Microsoft), David Gilboa (Co-Founder of Warby Parker), Kara Goldin (Founder & CEO of hint inc.), Jalak Jobanputra (Managing Partner at FuturePerfect Ventures), and Alexis Ohanian (Founder of reddit). Demo Night is sure to be an exciting evening!