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The GHS South Asian Heritage Club partnered with the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL) to launch the I3 Competition for 8th grade and high school students. The Competition, which took place on June 20, 2021 for high and middle school teams, addressed a variety of issues that small businesses face, and focused on using both technological and entrepreneurial based skills.

Co-President of the GHS South Asian Heritage Club and I3 Veda Swaminathan shared, "The competition is incredibly important to me and the community and it serves as a bridge between the vast amount of talent high school students have and the small business community that has been struggling due to the pandemic for over a year," she continued, "A lot of small businesses have been struggling to adapt to the changes in market structures and many have difficulty getting access to the capital and resources they need to continue with their ventures. High school students have grown up in the digital age and are constantly adapting and learning the new components of technology that can benefit small businesses."

High school teams partnered with a small business and chose one of five topics ranging from website creation to social media marketing to app development. Student teams had roughly two months to meet with the business, implement their solution, and evaluate the impact of their respective solutions on the business. The competition ended with a presentation to a panel of esteemed judges including IFEL CEO Jill Johnson.

"We are excited to see young people answering the call to use their skills to support small businesses," says Ms. Johnson. "This project is a win for the participating small businesses and students. We hope that other students will see this example and be moved to activism as well. The only way that we create a better world is for people to get involved."

The team with the best impact and pitch received a $1,000 prize. These teams also got access to new connections within the business world while having a lasting impact on the business.

Co-President of the GHS South Asian Heritage Club and I3, Aarya Dhru shared, "We are saw how hard each of our teams have worked throughout this competition and I can't wait to see what impact these teams will have. Small businesses play such an integral role for innovation and for supporting our local communities. Creating a platform where students can use their skills to benefit these businesses is at the heart of this competition and has been a strong motivator for me."

The middle school teams competed separately. While they are not paired with a business, students have an opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of a business owner by developing a solution to a problem that they identify. This winning team received $250.

This competition was a great opportunity for students to make a direct impact on small businesses, especially with the effects of the pandemic. It allowed for students to demonstrate leadership as well as business skills in the real world, and work within the community. They presented their final pitches on June 20th.

If a business or student is interested in learning more about this competition, please use this form to join the informational mailing list. Additionally, please visit the website at

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