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Bronx High School of Science Takes First Prize at
JA New York's 11th Annual Business Plan Competition
On Thursday, May 31, 2018, aspiring young entrepreneurs Dvir Avnon-Klein, Seungwon (Leo) Hyun and James Snyder from Bronx High School of Science led their team and school to first place victory in the final round of Junior Achievement of New York's 11th Annual High School Business Plan Competition. Their proposed idea for a cell phone-based biosensor that detects contaminants in meat – MeatMate
– would allow consumers to cheaply and quickly screen meat samples using a portable cell phone attachment device.
MeatMate stood out from the six other finalists' ideas centered on this year's theme, The Next Big Thing: Products. Utilizing new sensor technology like mobile raman and reflectance spectroscopy, MeatMate would be capable of screening meat samples both through direct exposure and through clear packaging materials. This would allow consumers to process the information about possible contaminants before committing to the purchase of the meat. Members of the team each received a cash prize of $2,500 and a trophy for their school. In the eleven years since the program's inception, competing teams from Bronx High School of Science have won first place three times, and have placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd place seven times.
During the concluding round of an intensive four-month business education program and competition, seven finalist teams presented their proposals for innovative products and services that fill a market need to a panel of high profile business judges at the all-day event held at EY's offices in Times Square. Each team made it through the final round after rising to the top of a competitive pool of 180 teams (comprised of nearly 700 students) following a series of knock-out preliminary rounds.
Team Wizzle's Kayleen Pena, Endi Trimi and Larissa Richard and Amanda Ozman from Leadership and Public Service High School in Manhattan each received $1,500 each as the second place team. Wizzle is a smart 3D printed whistle that can go up to 120 dB, drawing attention to those who require assistance. Unlike other safety products on the market, Wizzle is equipped with a micro GPS tracker and charged using a standard USB port. If a child is in distress, they could blow the whistle to trigger an alert and GPS pin to their parents via a synced app. This team from Leadership and Public Service High School has competed at BPC Finals for three years in a row. Last year they won third prize and during their final year competing in the program as seniors, they won second prize.
The third place prize went to team SnapCase from W.T. Clarke High School in Nassau County. Students Avani Singh, Bryanna Resende, Setphanie Papoutsakis and Joe Collica pitched their business idea for a unique, economical eco-friendly and trendy alternative to a typical smartphone case. Instead of sticking with one design or material for a phone case, SnapCase would allow customers to easily pick and choose from a variety of designs, materials and accessories for their phone case – three interchangeable pieces that seamlessly snap together. Each team member received cash prizes of $750.
The Final round panel of VIP judges included: Gregg Bishop, Commissioner, NYC Small Business Services; Matt Conlin, President, Fluent; Scott Gerber, Founder & CEO, CommunityCo. and Founder, Young Entrepreneur Council; Scott Jordan, Managing Director, NY Sales, Delta Air Lines; and Kim Kaupe, Cofounder, ZinePak. Guest speakers included Michael Portegello, Partner, EY LLP and G. Chris Andersen, Founding Partner, G.C. Andersen Partners, LLC and Vice Chair, JA New York Board of Directors.