By: Kaliena Joy Bowen
TiE is one of the largest entrepreneurial organizations in the world, and has a very active Atlanta Chapter. They focus on five pillars including mentoring, networking, education, incubating, and funding. TYE is a signature youth entrepreneurship program they offer. TYE University, however is the collegiate level of this award-winning program and connects students across 18 Georgia Universities.
TYE University (TYE-U) Entrepreneurship Competition unites student entrepreneurs with business leaders from all over Georgia to perfect their companies and ideas. Through this competition students must conceptually develop their product or service and offer a comprehensive business pitch.
The competition is split into two sections: a qualifying round and a final round. Out of the 22 businesses competing, three Georgia State students and alumni businesses Aurign, EcoDrop, and Oshun Pay placed within the top nine pitches at the TYE-U competition and accelerated to the Final Round. Due to stay-at-home orders, the final round was hosted virtually on April 18th.
According to EcoDrop CEO and Co-founder, Nicole Toole (B.B.A ’22), the experience “went above and beyond my expectations.”
With advisement from experienced business owners and industry leaders, finalists were able to elevate their pitches, business plans, and execution strategies. In contrast to the qualifying round, finalists were asked to condense their business pitches into more concise messaging.
The program forces young entrepreneurs to analyze and critically think through their business models. This gives competitors an opportunity to pinpoint weaknesses and inefficiencies within their company before taking them to judges.
The 2020 TYE-U Entrepreneurship Competition is Oshun Pay’s second consecutive year participating. The previous year was an “educational first attempt” that allowed them to assess their company and return to compete once again.
Even though up to $20,000 is on the line, finalist and Founder of Oshun Pay, Jonathan Pinder (B.B.A ’19), claims “the value in the program comes from being able to create multiple iterations of your submissions to make them even more efficient.”
Although Oshun Pay and EcoDrop did not make it into the top three finalists, these business owners are still passionate about developing their businesses and taking them to market.
Toole says that “even though my team did not win, we gained invaluable advice and relationships that will propel us to build a strong company in the future.”
The following competitors are the three finalists of the Final Round:
- 1st Place: Aerodyme Technologies, Georgia Institute of Technology
- 2nd Place: Ryze financial, University of Georgia
- 3rd Place: Aurign, Georgia State University and Ascent Analytics, Emory University.
Congratulations to the winners and everyone involved as they move their business ventures forward.