Guest post from Sophia Fulton, 2017 Technovation[MN] participant

Do big things.
Do epic things.
Do things people don’t think you can do.
Do things that you don’t think you can do.
We’re rooting for you.

That’s what I felt as my team participated in Technovation, and most recently, MN Cup: the largest startup
competition in Minnesota. My team, lovingly referred to as SKeMAS (a combination of our first names: Sophia,
Keerthi, Maurine, Anushri, and Stela), created a safe driving app called Via. We were a first runner-up to compete in Technovation’s global finals and were named finalists in the MN Cup.

Team SKeMAS at 2017 MN Cup

Team SKeMAS presented the Via app at the 2017 MN Cup.

As we competed through MN Cup, every single mentor and judge I spoke to was incredibly encouraging and
willing to help. In fact, at a pitch event, my mom mentioned the challenge of me being in school in Texas
and having to fly back for the competition. One of the mentors mentioned they would try to help in any way,
even if they had to help fund a trip back. That wasn’t needed, but the image was clear: the judges and mentors
were rooting for us.

Even among our MN Cup competitors, there was a feeling that we were all cheering for each other. After all, we
are all young entrepreneurs doing amazing things: can’t we create more good in our world by working together,
instead of against each other? I had the opportunity to speak with and hear the stories of Green Garden
Bakery, who placed first in the youth category in MN Cup, and Crimson Cafe, a fellow competitor. It astounds
me that there are so many young people who desire to create a better future through entrepreneurship, and I’m
so glad MN Cup gave us this opportunity to meet each other not only as competitors but as fellow visionaries in
entrepreneurship.

After the competition, even though we didn’t win first place, we had numerous mentors and judges come up to
our team and tell us they were there for us. We had judges, incredibly talented and experienced entrepreneurs,
offer their mentorship and help if we needed it. We had people suggesting resources and future events to
participate in to make Via successful. That was the best part of MN Cup: discovering that there was an
incredible community ready to help young entrepreneurs like us succeed.

There were points in this journey with Via that we weren’t sure if we could do it. Creating Via and competing
against incredibly strong competition, we didn’t know if we’d make it past the first round, let alone into finals.
But we did. We did the epic things. We did the big things. We did it: not because of our own talent, but because
of the people around us. We did it because of our mentors, our families, our friends, and even our competitors,
who told us we could do it, and who told us they were there supporting us.

Through this experience creating Via, I’ve realized that this captures the beauty of Technovation. Technovation
empowers girls to do big, epic things, and gives them the mentors and resources to make it possible.
Technovation tells girls that they can do amazing things, and we hope our journey with Via inspires you to do
the same:

You can do big things.
You can do epic things.
You can do things no one thought you could, maybe you even thought you couldn’t.
We did it, and we’re rooting for you.

Be a part of something great and join us in 2018. Discover the many ways you can be part of Technovation[MN] and get involved!