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Young Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) Winners
Posted 12/14/2016 11:03AM

On Sunday, December 4th student teams presented proposals to a panel of alumni and faculty as part of YEP (Young Entrepreneurship Program) at UWC-USA. The teams pitched their ideas to a panel of faculty and alumni – three alumni panelists judged the presentations remotely from Boston and another alumnus from San Francisco joined the others in Montezuma. YEP provides mentoring, funding, and support for students who propose actionable and innovative solutions to real-world problems. Six teams of students earned various awards by demonstrating a thorough understanding of the problem, proposing an effective solution, and establishing realistic execution strategies:

Auxilium – A multi-lingual, online platform to help immigrants integrate into their new communities more effectively

B.U.S. (Biodiesel Utilization System) – A strategy to use dining hall and locally-produced grease to fuel big school buses

College Points – An online platform that encourages large companies to fund college tuition with the aim of reducing college debt in the United States

100 Second Chances – A pilot program to reduce heroin usage in the Las Vegas, NM community

Home Sweet Home – A campaign to help raise funds, resources, and community engagement for the Samaritan House, as an initial step towards addressing homelessness in New Mexico

HAYA An app to facilitate the distribution of local donations in our community

The B.U.S. team won a startup accelerator trip to San Francisco while the College Points team won a trip to Boston -- these teams will participate in custom-designed Project Week trips in March to further develop their projects and pitch their ideas to UWC-USA alumni and industry leaders. As the UWC-USA Aurora finalist, the Auxilium team will advance to compete with other finalists selected from other UWC campuses which will feature a $5000 award to help implement the winning project. In addition, the 100 Second Chances, Home Sweet Home, and HAYA teams each received funding to implement their projects locally. All award-winning teams will be mentored by faculty and alumni throughout the rest of the year to help them learn how to bring an idea from pitch to implementation. Di Ye, experiential learning consultant and YEP adviser, felt that the pitch event was an opportunity for students to practice and apply important skills to issues they feel passionate about: "Over the course of developing their pitch, the students learned that any big ideas must start small with a local focus. They learned how to research and identify a specific problem worth solving, how to build a team that works through unexpected obstacles, how to engage with local customers/users to design an effective solution and a sustainable operational model, and how to tell a captivating story about their initiative to gain support from the community."

Meet Mzwakithi Shongwe, '12, who came to UWC-USA from Swaziland.

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UWC-USA is one of 16 UWCs on five continents. Other countries that have UWCs include Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Swaziland, and Wales.

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UWC-USA students perform more than 18,700 hours of service every year through our association with 25 community partners. More than 2,500 people in Las Vegas, N.M. and the surrounding community have benefited from service projects led by UWC-USA students.

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Students don’t apply directly to the school; they are selected by committees in their home countries based on academic achievement, leadership, and curiosity about and involvement with global events and cultures.

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UWC-USA offers the International Baccalaureate diploma program. Students can choose from IB classes in 28 subjects – a remarkable number given the size of the school.

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