And the $25,000 idea is...
Nov 18, 2009
Three Tulane University students presented a business proposal to a panelist of experts on Monday. The aftermath? They'll get to throw one giant tea party.
Nic Lagata, Shea Shelton and Jay Zhao were selected as the winners of the Movers and Changers competition, a nationwide search by NYSE Euronext and mtvU for young entrepreneurs advancing social change. Their award was $25,000 in start-up funds to turn their idea into a tangible reality.
The trio's venture, WET Tea, is aimed to raise social awareness, community involvement and monetary support for the preservation and reconstruction of the Gulf Coast Wetlands by selling artisan tea.
For each box that Lagata, Shelton and Zhao sell, they will plant one baby cypress. The group also plans to work with local state and non-profit organizations to help support communities in South Louisiana through hands-on wetlands restoration.
WET Tea was selected by the Mentoring Madness expert panel: Blake Mycoskie, Stephen Hanson, Barry Sternlicht and Calvin "Snoop Dogg" Broadus. The three finalist groups were all flown to New York City to attend Mentoring Madness and ring the New York Stock Exchange Bell in addition to presenting their cases.
“Mentoring Madness at the NYSE proved to be an important and significant event, bringing the next generation of innovators together with successful entrepreneurs for a truly unique and highly informative dialogue on taking an idea to the next level," said Duncan L. Niederauer, CEO of NYSE Euronext. "As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we want to encourage young people to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity in order to give birth to new products and services that fuel economic growth and well-being. We know that job creation coming out of a downturn will come from small businesses and entrepreneurs."
The other finalists were:
- Joanna Kim, Kyson Bunthuwong and Stephanie Wu, a University of California-Berkeley trio whose proposal was to bring life improvements to poverty-stricken Malawians through the establishment of a bamboo charcoal company.
- Stephanie Roberts and William Kethman, two other Tulane University students who aim to reduce the risk of umbilical cord infections in newborn babies by creating a disposable unit to accurately clamp and cut the cords in an easy-to-use motion.