It's go-time tonight for eight college students participating in ImpactU, an accelerator program for college entrepreneurs. Following their ten-week program, they’ll have five minutes to pitch their business models to the start-up community during ImpactU Demo Day at UNC Charlotte Center City.
This is the third class of ImpactU, a program through social entrepreneurship hub Queen City Forward. Tonight’s free event runs 5-8 p.m. Learn more at queencityforward.org/programs/impactu/.
Here's a quick look at the class of 2015's participants, schools and projects:
UChef, from Mary Guin of Johnson & Wales University: For serious home cooks who want to know the whys and hows of cooking. Each month, UChef members receive a complete lesson plan and unique ingredients centered on the same principles taught in culinary schools such as fresh pasta making, soups and stocks, artisan breads and more.
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Vuepeer, from Alex Smolen of University of South Carolina: One of the largest problems in the sharing economy is trust during the transaction. This platform under development would display a users’ ratings, reviews and listings from different sharing economy marketplaces.
Terraoak, from Max Chinnah and Godwin Attigah of Wartburg College: The team developed a solar-powered cooker that also stores additional power in a battery, allowing the cooker to be used at any time. Terraoak focuses on providing clean and renewable energy solutions.
Wiphala, from Jared Burris of University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Peter Rossi of Davidson College: This venture develops and manufactures llama fleece-based insulation, then sells it to apparel and bedding brands, retailers and manufacturers. This sustainable product can also increase Peruvian- or Bolivian- llama ranchers' livelihoods.
The Learning Tree, from Megan McLean of Johnson C. Smith University: A tutorial and enrichment program in Queens, New York -- and potentially in Charlotte-Mecklenburg -- that provides reduced cost or free academic tutorial services to students in grades 1-9 from low-income families and culturally diverse backgrounds.
Pantrea, from Brooke Brazer of Davidson College: This multifaceted platform connects young women with certified Teen Life Coaches. The goal is to empower and inspire young women by helping build their self-esteem, support their aspirations and foster their personal development.
Smith: 704-358-5087; Twitter: @celestesmithobs.