On Friday, April 7th, the winners of this year’s Diamond Challenge were announced at the Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (YES!) held in Clayton Hall. The competition was also broadcast live thanks to Capital One (watch the recording here). The 2017 Diamond Challenge semifinalists represented 11 countries and eight states.
The winners from the business concept track were Boltbot of St. Andrew, Jamaica, and PromElle of Saratoga, California, who tied for second place, and AcoustiGLASS of Medina, Ohio, in first place. AcoustiGLASS is a wearable acoustic object recognition system designed to increase awareness of the surrounding environment. It was developed by brothers, Kei and Kotaro Kojima.
The social venture track had AutumnLeaf Fundraisers of Landenberg, Pennsylvania, in third place, Voluntu of Medina, Ohio, in second place and Elix Incubator of San Anselmo, California, taking first place. Elix Incubator is a social impact incubator for teen social entrepreneurs that provides services and education on developing business in a sustainable way. This team is made up high school juniors Haley Catton, Isabella Liu, Stash Pomichter and Andrew Yates.
Participants had the opportunity to hear from keynote speakers Haile Thomas and Justin Lafazan, who also served as judges for the Diamond Challenge.
Thomas is a 16-year-old youth activist, motivational speaker, teen vegan chef, the youngest Certified Health Coach trained at the institute for Integrative Nutrition and the founder and CEO of the HAPPY organization. HAPPY addresses the need for free or low cost nutrition and culinary education for young people in underserved areas.
Lafazan is a 20-year-old who attends the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Before attending college, he founded Students4Students College Advisory, a higher education consulting form, and Millennial Marketing Strategy, a full-service digital marketing company. He now dedicates his time to the Next Gen Summit and launching Next Gen Ventures.
There were nearly 400 young entrepreneurs and educators in attendance, marking this year as the largest and most successful YES! event yet. For more information, click here.