April 26-28, 2019
Columbus College of Art & Design


Have you ever wanted to be a part of the solution for issues in your community? Have you ever had an idea to solve those issues? GiveBackHack is your next step. Attend to partner up with the community and find the resources to make ideas into a reality.

Friday, passionate community members (that’s you!) pitch innovative ideas to solve the most pressing social issues in Columbus. Saturday, participants form teams and build upon ideas for a sustainable, technology-based business. Sunday night, teams will pitch to a panel of judges for the opportunity to earn funding, mentorship and other resources to move forward with their solution.

Your ticket for the weekend includes:

  • Meals all weekend
  • GiveBackHack t-shirt
  • Surprises and swag from our sponsors and community partners
  • Mentorship by local social entrepreneurs, non-profit leaders, venture capitalists, tech execs and more
  • An opportunity to change your community for the better.


Shayla D. Favor

Councilmember, Columbus City Council

Councilmember Shayla D. Favor was appointed to fill the unexpired term of newly elected Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Judge Jaiza Page on January 14, 2019.

Prior to joining Council, Favor served as an Assistant City Attorney in Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein’s office. As a Zone Attorney, Favor had the opportunity to litigate high-profile environmental lawsuits, advise administrative ... Read More »

Emily Savors

Director of Grants Management, The Columbus Foundation

Since 1991, Emily has assisted the Foundation in carrying out its services to donors and supporting organizations, nonprofit organizations, and the community at-large. She has served as a catalyst in addressing community needs by researching, reviewing, and spearheading projects for funding consideration, and developing funding partnerships for special initiatives.

Prior to joining ... Read More »

Jen Bowden

Director of Social Impact, IGS

Jen Bowden is the Director of Social Impact for the IGS Family of Companies, where she works to carry forward the company’s purpose of building a meaningful energy future together. In this role, she’s responsible for investments into the communities where IGS does business including philanthropic investments, volunteerism, sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion. Additionally, she has ... Read More »

Lisa S. Courtice, Ph.D., CAP

President and CEO, United Way of Central Ohio

Lisa S. Courtice is president and CEO of United Way of Central Ohio, one of the largest United Way organizations in the country. Under her leadership, United Way is helping to mobilize the central Ohio community to reduce poverty.

Lisa is a Ph.D. psychologist with over twenty-five years of experience working in nonprofit leadership having served for over ten years as the CEO, Co-CEO and ... Read More »

Lauren Gruenebaum

Chief Product Officer, Root Insurance Company

As Chief Product Officer, Lauren leads the Product, Customer Service, and Performance Marketing teams at Root Insurance Co. She is responsible for the user experience across the mobile app, the front-line support services, and the direct to Play/App Store customer acquisition. Prior to Root, Lauren worked in innovation, strategy, enterprise risk, and capital management at Nationwide Insurance. Additionally, ... Read More »

Kathleen Clyde

Commissioner, Portage County

Kathleen Clyde was appointed County Commissioner in Portage County in Northeast Ohio in late December 2018.

Kathleen grew up in Garrettsville, Ohio, a small town in northeast Portage County. She attended the James A. Garfield public schools in Garrettsville from kindergarten until 12th grade, graduating first in her high school class.

Kathleen went on to earn her B.A. ... Read More »


Ramona Mills

Director, Women's Business Center of Central Ohio

Ramona Mills is an entrepreneur in practice and at heart, lending versatility, motivation, and strategic vision in her work. Ramona joined ECDI’s Women’s Business Center with over 20 years’ experience in leadership, program management, marketing and communications; providing a comprehensive skill set that translates into observable business impacts. Balancing both strategic and tactical approaches, ... Read More »

Emily Lawrence

Executive Director, Lilac Pack

Emily built the company Lilac Pack from the ground up - a true "moms helping moms" company, providing care packages to support women in their postpartum period (the first 6-8 weeks after childbirth), with their personal recovery and to help them get their best start nursing. Emily pitched this idea at GiveBackHack and went on to the social enterprise incubator, SEA Change, developing her company while ... Read More »

Ryan Frederick

Principal, AWH & Director, Startup Grind Columbus & Director, i.c.Stars

Ryan Frederick has had the privilege of being part of several startups and growth companies. He has helped companies grow from inception, to viability, through to sustainability. During the evolution of these companies, Ryan as served on company boards and been instrumental in capitalization activities. He has also helped companies to expand to international markets. Ryan brings a unique blend of business ... Read More »

Sarah Woods

Founder, Shatter

Sarah is the founder of Shatter, a social enterprise that uses technology to close the gender wealth and leadership gaps. She believes technology can be a powerful tool for social change and is a fierce advocate for women’s equality. She has spent most of her career building kick-ass software products and loving her work, but also getting frustrated by the hurdles and discrimination she and other ... Read More »

Matthew Billingsley

Co-Founder & Creative Director, Visceral

Matthew is a designer, author, and speaker with over 18 years of UX Design and branding experience primarily for organizations with social responsibility as a key focus. In 2006 he co-founded Visceral where he currently serves as Creative Director. His work for mission-driven organizations has been recognized by Communication Arts, Step Magazine, HOW Magazine, GDUSA, This Good World, Nonprofit World, ... Read More »

Lisa M. Chambers

National Executive Director, TECH CORPS

Lisa M. Chambers has nearly 20 years of experience building cross-sector strategic alliances and developing nationally-recognized and award-winning, Computer Science (CS) and Information Technology (IT) programs. Lisa joined TECH CORPS as the State Director of the Ohio chapter in 1999. In 2011, she was named the TECH CORPS National Executive Director. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing ... Read More »

Gerald D.A. Murphy

Pastor, Columbus Dream Center & Director, United School of Ministry

Gerald D.A. Murphy is the Pastor of the Columbus Dream Center and Director of the United School of Ministry (USOM). Gerald lives in Columbus Oh., with his wife Lauren Murphy and their four children, Rilynn, Adilynn, Nehemiah and Taelynn. Gerald has a heart and three-fold passion to help facilitate collaboration in communities amongst each major sphere of influence, to see holistic transformation spread ... Read More »

Madison Mikhail Bush

Founder & CEO, POINT

Madison Mikhail Bush is the Founder and CEO of POINT. POINT is a startup tech company making volunteering easier than ordering a Uber. Madison was named one of the Top 10 Entrepreneurs in Columbus for 2018. Both a tech geek and a bio nerd, Madison is also a member of the start up team at Gnome Diagnostics (GnomeDX) as Director of Corporate Development. GnomeDX provides at home clinical DNA testing. ... Read More »

Lauren Edwards

Owner, Next Step Business Consulting

Working to Alleviate Poverty by using our skills to help you achieve your Vision.

From start to finish, any project can use an expert at the wheel. Lauren brings years of experience leading teams to success, doing everything from individual project design, creating and implementing overall business plans, to full logistics overhauls. Having spent much of her career in the business and ... Read More »

Jordan Hamm

Creative Director, Beam Dental

Throughout his career, Jordan has leaned on his human-centered design background and experience as a UX/UI designer and art director to build modern, engaging brand experiences. Working in the pharmaceutical, fin-tech, and insurance industries has given him unique perspectives and consumer insights he's used to hone his craft as a creative professional.

Jordan is currently full-time creative ... Read More »

Ryan Retcher

Partner, LOUD Capital

As a Partner at LOUD Capital, based in Columbus, Ohio, Ryan oversees the day to day Operations of the Venture Services firm. He also acts as the Managing Partner over two of LOUD’s divisions: Legacy Ventures, a platform for Professional Athletes, Entertainers and Influencers to build their brands around Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital and LOUD ED, focused on facilitating the advancement of Education ... Read More »

Falon Donohue

CEO, VentureOhio

Falon Donohue is a community organizer, veteran and the Chief Executive Officer of VentureOhio, a for-impact organization created to facilitate a collaborative statewide entrepreneurial ecosystem and increase access to angel and venture capital for Ohio entrepreneurs. Prior to VentureOhio, and while serving her country in the Ohio Air National Guard, she began her career in technology solutiCon sales ... Read More »

Allen J. Proctor

Founder, SocialVentures

Recognizing a need for a network dedicated to existing and emerging social entrepreneurs, Allen Proctor founded SocialVentures (formerly the Center for Social Enterprise Development and the Community Investment Network in Central Ohio) in 2014. Since that time, more than 100 local social enterprises, more than 380 individuals have been identified and supported through custom consultation, networking ... Read More »


Dr. Melanie Corn

President, Columbus College of Art & Design

Dr. Melanie Corn is the fifth president of Columbus College of Art & Design. In her first two years at CCAD, Dr. Corn has made significant progress on the dual goals of building a national reputation for the college and strengthening CCAD’s role as a leading cultural institution in the region. She has overseen the implementation of a three-year strategic plan, the construction of the new state-of-the-art ... Read More »

Event Sponsors


Friday - April 26

Doors Open
Dinner & Networking (don't miss this!)
Friday Night Begins! We'll cover everything you need to know, let you pitch, vote on top ideas & form teams for the weekend
Wrap up!
Facilities Close

Saturday - April 27

Doors Open & Morning Yoga (optional)
Morning Mentors Arrive
Community Updates - circle up and discuss progress
Afternoon Mentors arrive
Wrap Up!
Facilities Close

Sunday - April 28

Doors Open & Morning Yoga (optional)
Mentors Arrive & Community Updates
Pitch Practice & Presentation Tech Check
Final Presentations Begin
Judging & Awards
Wrap Up & Celebrate
Facilities Close


Rachyl founded @greatercolumbusconsulting from her passion for helping small local businesses succeed. Rachyl is a lifelong Buckeye, with a degree from The Ohio State University, and 20 years of business experience in central Ohio. She has assisted executive teams in securing over $65M in funding, as well as helping businesses of all sizes create strategic goals that are realistic based on their past ... Read More »

Chase is a senior Finance student at The Ohio State University and an analyst at LOUD Capital. While at school he has deeply immersed himself in the Columbus startup space, having co-managed the SEA Change accelerator in 2017, served as Treasurer for Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship in 2018, and worked as one of GiveBackHack Columbus’s Finance Leads in 2018. Since starting at LOUD Capital he ... Read More »

Mike is a software developer currently working as a UX/Front-end Engineer at Finite State, a stealth-mode IoT security company based out of Columbus, Ohio.   Outside of work, Mike spends much of his time helping to organize and grow GiveBackHack. He is passionate about the organization as he believes social enterprise provides the most solid, sustainable foundation for social change.

Emily is a graduating senior at Ohio State University studying Social Enterprise with a focus on Leadership Studies. She spent last summer as a Columbus Foundation Fellow working on everything from building internal database solutions to developing client life cycle models for Besa Community in Franklinton. Previous to that, she directed the Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship Summit at Ohio ... Read More »

Mike Nichols has been a copywriter for various companies over the last 10 years. Throughout his copywriting career, Mike has worked on a variety of projects including web hosting databases, pharmaceutical pieces, mobile apps, social media, RFPs, and sales catalogues. Over the past 2 years, Mike has lent his extensive knowledge of the English language to non-profit and social impact causes, writing blogs ... Read More »

Lindsay is a recent graduate of the Ohio State University where she received a bachelor's degree in Communications in New Media and Technology, and Design Thinking. Currently she is working as a marketing intern for Office-Image and works on freelance graphic design projects in her spare time. Although she is new to the GiveBackHack family, Lindsay is ecstatic to be involved with the event and to be ... Read More »

Bailey is a licensed social worker working with the Ohio Department for Mental Health and Addiction Services as a community linkage worker. She has spent the last two years working with and in Ohio's prisons to help justice involved individuals safely and successfully transition to the community. Bailey was drawn to the social enterprise world as a pathway for those with criminal backgrounds to find ... Read More »

Derek is a Product Manager at Root Insurance, a company using technology to reinvent the car insurance industry. As a Product professional with over 15 years of leadership experience, he serves teams by helping them to discover the next most valuable thing to deliver to their customers.

Derek is a passionate member of the social entrepreneurial and technology communities in Columbus. ... Read More »

Clayton is an IT Specialist for the Office of the Ohio Attorney General where he is the go-to guy for assistance with over 200 applications and systems built around protecting Ohio's families. His previous background in hospitality is fused with a passion for technology that he discovered at, of all things, a GiveBackHack event in 2016.

His mission since has been to provide resources ... Read More »

Ruei is passionate about the startup scene, technology and giving back to the community. She currently works at Grange Insurance as an Emerging Technology Lead and serves on the board of Mental Health America of Franklin County. Prior to GiveBackHack, she was on the Startup Weekend Columbus Organizing team. Outside of working and organizing, she enjoys hiking, cooking and brewing.

Gabriela Torres is a local artist and social impact advocate. This is her second year on the organizing team and she can’t get enough of it! When she’s not helping plan the event you can find Gabby painting at her studio in downtown Columbus or hopping around local art and music events in the city. She also has two adorable cats and loves to dance!

Pre-submitted Ideas

Submit your Idea 

  • 1. Community Driven Microfinance submitted by Johan Uribe

    Community Driven MicrofinanceSubmitted by Johan Uribe

    What is the problem are you solving?

    A problem that millions of Americans face on a regular basis is how to make ends meet. How to find the extra $20 to make rent and avoid eviction? How to pay for car repairs so that they can get to work? Nearly six in ten Americans do not have $500 in cash to meet an unplanned expense. Many of these people turn to payday lending and other short-term lending institutions to make ends meet when faced with unexpected expenses. As a result, many families get stuck in a downward spiral of rolled-over debt and rising interest payments. This is a problem we can fix. Muhammad Yunus and his non-profit, Grameen America, showed that giving low-income entrepreneurs small loans can have a big effect on individuals and communities. I want to build on this tradition and provide financial resources not to entrepreneurs, but to normal working Americans who need extra help making ends meet or getting out of the payday-lending downward spiral. Keeping a family out of homelessness is cheaper than helping families get back into a home after they are out on the street.

    How will this idea solve the problem?

    The idea is to create a network of community organizations that can identify individuals in need, vet their intentions, and then provide zero-interest loans which are funded through a new organization. This new organization would use a combination of charitable fundraising, government grants, and an online platform similar to or gofundme to raise funds. Loans can also be bundled with financial literacy resources and access to bank accounts. This plan is only sustainable if we maintain high repayment rates, which is why the network of community organizations is absolutely key to make this plan a success. What Muhammad Yunus found in his pioneering work on microfinance is that small loans to low-income people actually have extremely high repayment rates when the loans are given to groups of people rather than individuals. The key aspect is that the social pressure of commitments made to your friends and neighbors makes people more likely to repay their debts and act responsibly with the money loaned. We can achieve the same effect by using community organizations, such as non-profits and churches, to identify and vet families in need. Only people who genuinely need the money and have the best of intentions will commit to taking a small loan directly from their community members. The loans can then be used to pay off preexisting payday loans or to make ends meet.

    Is this idea brand new or has it been partially-vetted?

    Brand New

    Why are YOU uniquely positioned to solve the problem? What other people do you need to help?

    I am a professor of economics at Denison University with expertise in the connection between household savings and economic stability. I am also a part-time web developer who enjoys make web applications and wants to make a difference. What I bring to the table is expert knowledge on the connections between underbanking, economic insecurity, household savings, poverty and homelessness. I also bring to the table an understanding of how technology can bring together people all over the world to solve problems. I am uniquely positioned to identify this pressing social problem, understand the root causes, and plan a sustainable solution based on rigorous evidence of what works and what does not. What I lack is a practical understanding of how to organize a new non-profit financial institution, raise funds, and create a network of community organizations that share our goal. I have little experience in these practical matters, and these are probably the most difficult challenges to overcome.

  • 2. Scenic submitted by Alex Haberski

    ScenicSubmitted by Alex Haberski

    What is the problem are you solving?

    Dynamic navigation apps only provide routes that offer the fastest route from point A to point B, and daily driving can be stressful and mentally unappealing.

    How will this idea solve the problem?

    Scenic will offer users a route that gets them from point A to point B on the most beautiful route possible using a proprietary routing algorithm. Scenic will also work with its community of users to nominate new official scenic byways (at state, national, and county/town levels), plant tree farms to combat global climate change, and bio-remediate areas that have been devastated by industry. Scenic can show users that there are no flyover states, as well as plan beautiful trips without losing much time compared to normal routing.

    Is this idea brand new or has it been partially-vetted?

    Brand New

    Why are YOU uniquely positioned to solve the problem? What other people do you need to help?

    I've quit a job to start and run a business that has become successful, and I have the vision and drive to achieve success in this idea, which I have really ruminated on! I feel like I've got a great grasp on what would make the routing algorithm work, and I have big plans for the potentially great things this app can do for nature conservation and fighting climate change, as well as reducing traffic congestion.

  • 3. T’s Bees Presents Have A Hive™ submitted by Trent Balduff

    T’s Bees Presents Have A Hive™Submitted by Trent Balduff

    What is the problem are you solving?

    Lowering the total expense that is related to the hobby of beekeeping while providing individuals and groups to help support the environment at the same time that they are incentivized for doing so.

    How will this idea solve the problem?

    The sponsorship program subcontracts beekeepers after providing them with discounted bee packages. T's Bees then sends the sponsors bi-products from the hives that they made possible. Win-Win!

    Is this idea brand new or has it been partially-vetted?


    How you have vetted your idea and the success or difficulties you have seen thus far?

    We have built the website and are currently discovering our target market and most likely customer. It has a trademark being registered. T's Bees was recently admitted into the U. of Akron's I-Corps program and is being legally monitored by the SEED Clinic at Akron as well.

    Why are YOU uniquely positioned to solve the problem? What other people do you need to help?

    I am the only organization offering extensive incentives to beekeepers, beekeeper associations, sponsors, and the environment in the NorthEast Region of the United States.

  • 4. Willow submitted by Georgia Sutter

    WillowSubmitted by Georgia Sutter

    What is the problem are you solving?

    Finding the right rescue pet is hard task.

    How will this idea solve the problem?

    It helps streamline information about adoptable dogs in the area and allows shelters an easy way to keep up with their dogs.

    Is this idea brand new or has it been partially-vetted?


    How you have vetted your idea and the success or difficulties you have seen thus far?

    We participated in Startup weekend and did some market validation for the product.

    Why are YOU uniquely positioned to solve the problem? What other people do you need to help?

    Our team has developers, a designer and the business side. We are all animal lovers and Georgia struggled with finding her perfect pet 3 years ago.

  • 5. South Side Early Learning submitted by Colin McGinnis

    South Side Early LearningSubmitted by Colin McGinnis

    What is the problem are you solving?

    In order to provide holistic, high-quality early childhood education we need to identify needs of children and families early. However, unless families are letting schools know of problems or concerns, it is difficult to be preventative in meeting needs. Additionally, while schools collect data on student growth, it is rarely used in a holistic way.

    How will this idea solve the problem?

    We aspire to live in a society where all children can grow up to access the same opportunities and find success. For many children who are born into poverty however struggle to make ends meet as adults. When we focus on the "why" of economic mobility, conversations tend to focus on access to a college, or even high school, education. However, for poor children, the gap between themselves and their more affluent peers start in the youngest years. Poor children start school at a disadvantage. Their health, behaviors, and skills make them less prepared for kindergarten than children growing up under better economic conditions.
    Early childhood programs, especially those in Early Head Start and Head Start partnerships, collect troves of data on each child—family demographics, types of meals served, academic achievement, attendance and behavioral insights to name a few. To ensure that all children are entering Kindergarten ready to learn, the South Side Early Learning is seeking to build an preventative early warning model to identify students who are not making sufficient academic and developmental progress using data already collected on academic outcomes, attendance, family services provided and other measures.

    Is this idea brand new or has it been partially-vetted?


    How you have vetted your idea and the success or difficulties you have seen thus far?

    The team at South Side Early Learning has been working with community partners to clean our data and convert data to a digital format. This idea has been supported through the Google Data Solutions for Change Grant Program.

    Why are YOU uniquely positioned to solve the problem? What other people do you need to help?

    As CEO of South Side Early Learning I know the barriers early childhood programs have in effectively using data. Given my background in the field, and training as a developmental psychologist, I am very familiar with intervention and program evaluation.

  • 6. Rags submitted by Cole Still & Laney Ronske

    RagsSubmitted by Cole Still & Laney Ronske

    What is the problem are you solving?

    Transgender Unemployment & Homelessness

    How will this idea solve the problem?

    We will mentor, clothe & employ T/GNC/NB individuals. Partnering with Mozaic we'll offer medical care & with the Mikayla Denise Foundation we will offer housing.

    Is this idea brand new or has it been partially-vetted?


    How you have vetted your idea and the success or difficulties you have seen thus far?

    Why are YOU uniquely positioned to solve the problem? What other people do you need to help?

    I have worked first-hand with this problem at Equitas Health. Without Trans individuals basic needs being met, they cannot even focus on healthcare or battling societies expectations of them. It's a cycle.

  • 7. Creative Currency submitted by Erica Abrams

    Creative CurrencySubmitted by Erica Abrams

    What is the problem are you solving?

    Loneliness, Creative Currency can fill the gap we have with community support while simultaneously provide knowledge and share talents to others within our community. happy people are half as likely to catch a cold and 50% less likely to experience a heart attack or stroke. What’s more, 2 years ago, we shared the findings of a Harvard University study, which found that a person’s overall happiness and physical well-being is heavily dependent on whether they belong to a strong community and have quality social connections, Ohio is a report on June 10th 2018 which states “Suicide rates in Ohio have increased by 36 percent depression is exasperated by feelings of isolation, community involvement and feeling valued has a profound effect toward feelings of worthiness.

    How will this idea solve the problem?

    Creative Currency is an application for exchanging ideas/ knowledge and skills. It is user specific yet neighborhood based. Similar to Nextdoor application but instead of it being neighborhood event or item based it is people based and your talent/ knowledge brings the value to the community I wanted there to be an easy way for people within the community to learn and share knowledge on ways to get through all the seemingly endless bumps along the road we all face. The idea that the strength in our communities could help all of us to harbor ingenuity and grow toward our best versions is incredible to me.The caveat to this is knowing one another so we can be there for one another. This is what is at the core of Creative Currency.

    A quick example is of myself: Last summer our first full summer in our home here in Columbus our air conditioner would not start, we fiddled with it tried youtube realized our unit is ancient and then grappled with calling a repairman. It turns out our breaker on the unit had been turned off. Had we felt comfortable and had an easy way to ask our neighbors who no doubt may have or had similar air conditioner units to us we could have saved over 70.00. In fact recently I met a neighbor who has owned his house since it was built in the 60's this 90 year old neighbor could have easily told us the problem had we met or known of him when we moved in. I will know my project works when members in my community with similar small easily checked out issues feel they can reach out to their nearby neighbors for help and are able to give back to them with their knowledge as well. This will be achieved by them providing testimonials on both their neighbors profile and within the small community segments. This way their security and comfort with their place in the community can be voiced. The relationships built then last lifetimes outside of the application.

    Is this idea brand new or has it been partially-vetted?


    How you have vetted your idea and the success or difficulties you have seen thus far?

    I completed the parent leader training institute in Columbus Ohio this year my community project is Creative Currency, I have created visuals and a clear vision that I have presented to members of the community with positive feedback.

    Why are YOU uniquely positioned to solve the problem? What other people do you need to help?

    I fill many roles within the community, PTA, garden volunteer, aid with food pantry, CCS family ambassador, volunteer with Femergy a non-profit.. etc. I see all these connections around me and we all have them but often do not know of them because most do not communicate with their neighbors enough. I could have used this app MANY times though out my life and even now. Growing up I was much more shy than I am now so I missed out in many ways on opportunities. Now with the age of social media this should be something we can solve ! this communication gap is something that once solved can help a ton of people lead easier and more fulfilled lives. I want to pioneer this because I make it a priority to know my neighbors and communicate regularly enough to see and know the benefit. I also have the design skill to be able to visually give it life. I may lack technical application coding skills but in every other area even advertising I am positioned for this applications fruition.

  • 8. Tego submitted by Angela Rucci & Mark Thorn

    TegoSubmitted by Angela Rucci & Mark Thorn

    What is the problem are you solving?

    Protecting people when walking alone.

    How will this idea solve the problem?

    Tego automatically notifies your contacts when you arrive at your destination. Most competitors do not have an automatically arrival detection that is easy to set up. Also, Tego has a panic mode state when you feel unsafe along a trip. In the panic mode, Tego will take video footage and send it to your contacts who are protecting you along your trip. None of our competitors do this. Tego is a better solution for young adults who need an extra layer of protection while traveling.

    Is this idea brand new or has it been partially-vetted?


    How you have vetted your idea and the success or difficulties you have seen thus far?

    We launched on March 1st, and you can now find the app in the iOS app store. We have 839 users as of April 10th and are constantly looking on ways to better help people get home safely.

    Why are YOU uniquely positioned to solve the problem? What other people do you need to help?

    It was my first week of living on my own in Columbus. I just left my small town, and I finally felt like an adult. I was shopping at a local grocery store and a man followed me for several isles. Once I finally noticed I was being followed, he grabbed me and started thrusting himself on me. Since then, I felt scared pretty much every time I left my house. I was constantly calling my dad while walking from work, school, or bars. That was when I originally had the idea of creating an app that would automatically notify friends when you arrived at your destination.

    Tego is founded by two computer science engineers from Ohio State University. We have developed several apps before that are now available in the iOS app store. We are also the only company in the personal safety technology space that is co-founded by a female young adult. Although the market has many solutions, our vision is more closely aligned with what other women need, as shown by the success with local Ohio State sororities. Safety solutions should be dependable, convenient, and discrete. Our mission is to become the leader of all three within the personal safety space.

    Other companies are founded by men that know the problem exists but don't understand the nuances that women look for in their personal safety. I have been harassed while walking alone or with a group of women, leading me to carry pepper spray daily. This is a problem that most people know about, but I am living with it every single day.

  • 9. Bonifier submitted by Ryan Scott

    BonifierSubmitted by Ryan Scott

    What is the problem are you solving?

    It’s our belief that no child should have to journey through life in a state of fear, especially a child already suffering through an illness. Yet currently more than 2/3 of children receiving inpatient medical care in the US are left alone to grapple with the complex emotions that result from living with a life-altering illness. And studies show mental health has a direct impact on a child’s overall long-term health and well-being, and, if left untreated, can spiral into very real consequences for both the child and society.

    Additionally, patient fear and anxiety create an environment that increases stress and burnout of healthcare professionals while lowering patient satisfaction and outcomes. For hospitals this environment can contribute to higher personnel turnover, as well as loss of revenue due to poor patient satisfaction surveys and overall clinical inefficiency.

    How will this idea solve the problem?

    The first step in fulfilling our mission to alleviate the fear, anxiety, and loneliness experienced by children living with a life-altering illness is to catch kids before they fall through the cracks. Currently, children facing an illness have their mental health assessed at a single point in time upon receiving their physical diagnosis. Unfortunately, just because a child is considered subclinical at one point of time doesn’t mean they won’t struggle with fear or anxiety at any other point in their treatment journey. However most children are not reassessed until there is an obvious behavioral change – at which time some damage has already been done.

    I propose creating a tool that provides care-teams with the data needed to generate a perpetual mental health assessment to help uncover those currently overlooked by the system and initiate intervention sooner.

    Is this idea brand new or has it been partially-vetted?


    How you have vetted your idea and the success or difficulties you have seen thus far?

    Over the past year we have spoken with an extraordinary number of children, families, and clinicians to understand their specific pain points and have validated the unfortunate scale and severity of the problem. Our conversations with healthcare professionals, in conjunction with relevant secondary research, serve as a guide for our development of an effective solution.

    We have received a modicum of success through our participation in prior startup events but continue to face difficulties. These difficulties revolve around assembling a well-rounded internal team with the necessary expertise, and the struggle to secure continual access to mental health and pediatric health professionals to enable us to efficiently achieve clinically sound progress.

    Why are YOU uniquely positioned to solve the problem? What other people do you need to help?

    I have spent my career connecting dots and crafting solutions, building a track record of accomplishing things few others have. I have experienced this problem within my own family and so for the past year I have worked full-time to bring this concept to life – but I need help to move it further faster.