Detroit-area students pitch inventions to executives
Livonia – Julia Chase wants to influence her peers to learn healthy eating habits before going off to college.
The 16-year-old came up with an idea to teach classes to students on how to affordably cook healthy meals in a dorm room.
“I really want to start a program that can help and inspire other students to lead healthier lives in the future,” said Chase, junior at International Academy in Bloomfield Hills. “Hopefully, with the help, I will be able to host healthy cooking seminars across college campuses.”
Chase and seven other students across Metro Detroit had the opportunity to pitch their inventions to business leaders in a two-day workshop this week at WorkForce Software in Livonia.
The company put on the event with GENYOUth, a nonprofit organization that helps cultivate student inventions and ideas, and AdVenture Capital, GENYOUth’s social entrepreneurship program, which helps provide funding and mentoring. Together, WorkForce, GENYOUth and AdVenture chose the students to participate in the WorkForce Dream Builder Experience.
During the two-day seminar, students were paired with executives from WorkForce Software, a workforce management company, to brainstorm and solve problems in their school and community. Each student will receive a $1,250 grant to help execute their invention.
Arav Agarwal, pitched an idea to reduce lead levels in water.
The International Academy sophomore designed a prototype for an over-pipe that could be used to resolve contamination in corroding water pipes.
“Not only will my idea be helpful in solving the Flint water crisis, but we are having the same lead water problems in my city and I live in Rochester Hills,” Agarwal said. “Lead was found in the water at the school my younger brother goes to. This problem can affect everyone and I’m hoping my invention will make a difference.”
In its first year of partnering with WorkForce Software, Alexis Glick, CEO of GENYOUth, wants students to take advantage of the skills taught in the workshop.
“I’m simply amazed by the leadership I have seen in these students,” said Glick, a former correspondent for NBC’s “Today” show. “They are learning how to construct business plans, communicate with business leaders and influence their peer group to find their passion. These eight students can inspire communities.”
Denise Vu Broady, chief marketing officer for WorkForce Software, said hosting the Dream Building experience is important because of its focus on the “three Cs” – culture, community and customer.
“When you give back to the community, you can help your culture thrive, which increases the customer footprint,” she said. “We are really want to provide mentorship opportunities to all kids so they can be exposed to programs like this.”
Broady said the program was open to students in Detroit Public Schools, but there was a lack of interest.
“We want students from DPS and all public schools because there is a lot of untapped potential and great ideas out there,” she said. “Students should have the opportunity to pitch their ideas. We are helping to mold our future leaders.”