Diamond Challenge winners combine knowledge with experience to improve spelling bee studying tactics

Former University of Delaware Diamond Challenge finalists Shreyas Parab and Sriram Hathwar have a new partnership focused on developing their online study tool, Spell for Success.

Shreyas is a 16-year-old from Aston, Pennsylvania and a junior at Archmere Academy High School in Claymont, Delaware. He has appeared at the Scripps Spelling Bee twice, along with 3 appearances at the Metlife Spelling Bee, and 4 appearances at the North South Foundation Spelling Bee. After he retired his placard, he went on to give 4 TEDx talks about his experiences and also start a tie company. That tie company has more than $15,000 in sales.

Hathwar is a 16-year-old from Corning, New York and a junior at Corning Painted-Post High School in upstate New York. He has competed and won several spelling bees, including the Scripps National Spelling Bee, MetLife National Spelling Bee, and three national NSF competitions. His prowess earned him a meeting with President Obama.

Both students formed the idea for their start-up, Spell for Success, after finishing their last spelling bee together.

“I’m the kind of kid who’s good at reading a book in the corner.” Parab says, “We had this weird talent at being good at selling our potential product as well, I wasn’t just a nerdy kid I was a nerdy kid who could also be successful, and that’s how we got into Spell for Success.”

Knowing his idea was a great one, Parab followed in his older brother’s footsteps and entered himself and his friend Hathwar in the University of Delaware Diamond Challenge competition.

The University of Delaware Horn Program in Entrepreneurship created the Diamond Challenge to provide high school students and young entrepreneurs from around the world with an outstanding opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship while putting their ideas into action. Applications for the competition are now open and being accepted.

Participants in the Diamond Challenge gain valuable first-hand experience with conceiving an idea for a new business or social venture. First they test the idea by talking to potential customers and gathering evidence to validate the viability of their business or social impact model. Then they pitch their idea by submitting a written concept and presenting to a panel of judges.

Participants earn money through this competition. The prize pool this year is $100,000 dollars. Two years ago, Spell for Success earned $8,000 dollars for first place when the prize pool was just $50,000.

Spell for Success is an online product that provides a mass amount of words often used in spelling bees to study from. Parab and Hathwar offer their lifetime experiences as national spelling bee participants, and feel as though the online webpage is far more helpful and affordable than the lists being sold for over $500 apiece traditionally used to study with.

Parab explained the concept, “Studying tactics can get better and better, flash cards, nomadic devices, they save you time and effort, and get better results out of it, so why not a website with all that?”

They have partnered with a leading online platform that creates questions for various subjects ranging from AP exams to SAT practice to any practice questions students across the country might hope to find.

Together, Spell for Success and their partner hope to launch the new section of the website by January of 2017.

The Diamond Challenge is part of the Paul and Linda McConnell Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative.


About Horn Entrepreneurship

Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the University of Delaware’s creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement. Built and actively supported by successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders, Horn Entrepreneurship empowers aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs as they pursue new ideas for a better world.

Follow Horn Entrepreneurship @udhorn and check out our entrepreneurship competition for high school students @diamondchalleng.