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High school students win teen startup competition with accent-softening tool for call center agents

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Seattle-area high school students recently competed in the finals of the TiE Young Entrepreneur (TYE) Seattle chapter finals competition, with a team called Soundwave emerging as the winner. Soundwave developed an artificial intelligence-enabled accent softening program for call center agents, aiming to enhance customer satisfaction. They received the top prize of $2,750 and will advance to TYE’s Global Business Plan Competition next month.

In addition to Soundwave, two other groups were recognized for their outstanding business ideas at the competition. KEY Beauty created an AI and scanning technology platform for accurate makeup shade matches for girls and women of color, winning a $1,250 prize. MyPath developed an AI-driven college counseling bot for high school students, earning a $1,000 prize. Ten other teams were awarded $250 each for various categories such as best teamwork, execution, customer validation, elevator pitch, and business model. Furthermore, three teams received honorable mention prizes of $100.

The finalists were part of the TYE 2023-2024 program, which guides and mentors young entrepreneurs in developing and launching their first real businesses. The Seattle program featured 14 teams comprised of over 70 young entrepreneurs who presented their ideas in two semifinal tracks. Soundwave’s team members include students from various high schools in the area, showcasing the diversity of talent and creativity among the youth.

Throughout the competition, students presented a wide range of innovative business ideas, including a two-sided marketplace for carbon credits, a haptics and LIDAR-enabled camera for the visually impaired, biodegradable bottles, real-time concussion-related data analysis, and an AI bot for special needs individuals. TYE mentors assist students in various aspects of entrepreneurship, from ideation to prototype creation, equipping them with essential skills and knowledge for startup success.

The final competition was judged by a panel of Seattle-area tech executives, including Anoop Gupta, CEO of SeekOut; Joseph Sirosh, CEO of Creators AGI; Aseem Datar, VP of Next-Gen Computing & AI at Microsoft; and Sabrina Wu, a principal at Madrona Venture Group. SeekOut CTO Aravind Bala, who also served as a TYE instructor and mentor, commended the students for their dedication and commitment, emphasizing the importance of collaboration, innovation, and presentation skills for their future endeavors.

Soundwave will represent TYE Seattle at the upcoming TYE Global Business Plan Competition in Silicon Valley in June. Founded in 2000, TiE Seattle is a chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship worldwide through its various chapters in different countries. The success of the students in the TYE program not only highlights their entrepreneurial potential but also serves as a source of inspiration and energy for the entire entrepreneurial community.

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