ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) – A group of five middle and high school girls competed against nearly 1,700 other entrepreneurs in the 14th annual Minnesota Cup business startup competition held by the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. It’s the nation’s largest statewide startup competition that connects mentors and entrepreneurs as they compete to be named the best new business idea of 2018.
The students developed a smartphone app called, “Bridge” that provides resources for immigrants who may need help when they arrive in the United States.
“Some of our parents are actually immigrants who immigrated to this country, so we kind of had an idea of doing an app that we had connections to. Our app helps immigrants have access to resources in their new area such as food, shelter, transportation,” said Anjali Donthi.
This past May, the girls first submitted their app at Minneapolis’ fifth annual Technovation “Appapalooza” meet, a competition for middle and high school girls. They ranked highest in the high school division and qualified as a semifinalist for the Minnesota Cup, where the team won the $10,000 Sunrise Banks prize.
The team calls itself “B.A.S.I.C. B.A.L.S.A.” B.A.S.I.C. refers to the programming language they use and B.A.L.S.A., an acronym of the member names.
While the app is not public yet, the team tells said it plans to use the $10,000 reward to further develop the app and officially release it in January.