MIT Program Helps George School Students Launch Start-Ups

On George School’s first Demo Day, student entrepreneurs pitched their products to alumni in the McFeely Atrium. (Photo by Laura Pedrick)

George School student entrepreneurs pitched their startup companies and new product ideas to a panel of alumni judges at Demo Day on Sunday, March 31, 2019. Howard Chan ’21, Kairo Morton ’20, Faith Friendsuh ’20, and Lam Pham ’20 won the competition with their pitch for Silent Savior, a wristband they created for hearing impaired individuals that vibrates when it hears the frequency of a fire alarm. They also shared a working prototype of their product during the event.

The student participants are members of the Entrepreneurship Club that works with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) LaunchX Program. The MIT program helps high school students develop their entrepreneurial skills and network with peers and mentors through an immersive learning experience.

Katherine Hoang ’19 is the student leader who brought the club program to George School last year, and was one of the speakers at the event. “I’ve always been interested in creativity and innovation,” said Katherine. “I brought the LaunchX program to our school to offer students the opportunity to nurture these skills and create something that is beautiful and functional.”

Judges at the event were Gennifer Miller Dornstreich ’99, who provides leadership development services for executives and entrepreneurs; Seth Shipon ’01 and his brother Matt Shipon ’08, who are managing partners of AaronRob Properties, a real estate development and investment company in Philadelphia; and Rahul Dandora ’90, an investor for Philadelphia start-ups, and a chief financial officer for a group of manufacturing businesses.

Kerry Chen ’19, Katherine Hoang ’19, Kaitlyn Lee ’19, Josh Saskin ’19, and Mindy Xu ’19 pitched Surveez, an app service that gives restaurants consistent customer feedback. Customers are incentivized to participate through a rewards program using the app.

Forest Ho-Chen ’22 and Alexandre Cartier ’19 pitched Glass Movers, a device that can be installed to any window and then will open and close it through an app.

Winnie Ding ’22, Sharon Hoang ’22, Tori Lee ’21, Grace Song ’21, and Ellen Zhang ’21 pitched Lee Jewelry, which is created from reusable materials such as cans, bottles, and bottle caps.

Prabh Kaur ’20, a leader and returning member of the club, was excited to continue developing her business from last year with her teammates Lexi Osbourne ’20 and Jada Wooten ’20. The team’s company, Topped, was founded with the theme of sustainability in mind.

“Our company focuses on upcycling tops into fashionable and wearable clothes,” said Prabh. The team uses their skillsets in sewing and embroidery to manufacture the product themselves.

Staff members Tessa Bailey-Findley and Tim Major are co-sponsors of the club and were thrilled to host George School’s first Demo Day. “It was great giving club members the opportunity to pitch their start-up companies to alumni in the business world,” said Tessa. “I was impressed with the wide variety of ideas presented and the quality of each pitch by the students.”

Bringing the entrepreneur club to campus has been a positive experience for Katherine. “I’ve had a valuable opportunity to work with other students on bringing an idea into reality, as well as see what other students my age around the globe have created through the same platform.”

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