Month: December 2017

The Beginning of a Journey in Technology: SKeMAS at 2017 MN Cup

Guest post from Keerthi Manikonda, 2017 Technovation[MN] participant

The MN Cup experience is something that I am truly grateful for. It has been something that has taught me various life skills and has brought me closer to my teammates. It taught me to learn how to be a strong and reliable leader and it also taught me how to find support within my team [the SKeMAS].

One of the main reasons why I’m glad to have participated is because I wanted to inspire girls out there to take a problem in their communities and use technology and entrepreneurial skills to solve it or make the problem less prevalent. I want to look back fifty years from now and be proud that I did something or made something that others benefitted from. I know there are a lot of programs out there that teens can take advantage of to solve problems in their community. And I hope teens do take advantage of those programs. MN Cup and Technovation are the programs that have given me a great deal of opportunities. A word of advice I have to other teens in start there. Start with MN Cup or Technovation. Get good contacts. Meet new people. Use all the resources you’ve got to become successful. It will help you in the long run.

My journey has had its highs and its lows, and I am appreciative of experiencing it all. I knew I could always rely on my team members and my team members knew that they could rely on me. That is why when we had a pitch for the MN Cup for the minority division on a school day, and my other teammates could not go, I went and delivered the pitch on my own so that my team could have a chance at winning. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to represent Via at the pitch, as well as to participate in the MN Cup. Hopefully, in the near future, my team and I will push forward and make Via very successful. We have done a great deal so far, and I can’t wait to see where the rest of my journey will take me!

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!

Do Big Things: SKeMAS at 2017 MN Cup

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.

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!