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SAU student to pitch idea at MLK event
 
Published Saturday, January 13, 2018
by Staff Reports

RALEIGH – Saint Augustine's student Brandon Gray, a sophomore communications major from Wilson, will present his social enterprise idea during The Institute and United Way of the Greater Triangle's Idea Generation Next: College Edition final pitch event. The pitch will be held Jan. 15 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

Gray will present his idea for Vybez, a clothing company that strives to bring awareness to mental illness and suicide in the youth community. He and a friend developed the idea for a motivational clothing line in 2014, and through the UWGT initiative, was able to refine his idea and maximize the social impact of the brand.

“United Way provided access to a mentor who helped us determine how to separate our brand from others,” Gray said.

Gray and the other competitors who qualified for the final round began the competition this past fall. He and his peers, who consist of students from William Peace, Meredith College and North Carolina Central, advanced through a series of steps that included creating, submitting, pitching and refining their ideas. The final step is the presentation on Monday, which Gray will make alongside his company’s chief financial officer, Jamie Steen, who is a North Carolina A&T State University student. Judges for the event will vote on the students’ submissions and presentations, and prizes from the $30,000 prize pool will be designated accordingly. The audience will also vote on the recipient of a People’s Choice Award.

The Idea Generation Next: College Edition series is part of UWGT's Innovate United initiative, which "connects, engages, and collaborates with innovators, intrapraneurs, entrepreneurs, and individuals to improve the lives of families and children in low-income households in North Carolina’s Durham, Johnston, Orange, and Wake counties," according to the Innovate United website.

“We’ve also partnered with SAU several times in recent years on MLK Day so we’re pleased to continue the partnership,” said Melanie Davis-Jones, chief strategy officer and senior vice president of marketing and community engagement for UWGT.

“It is the goal of the university to facilitate and provide students with opportunities to grow and excel beyond the classroom. This is an example of how getting students involved with the surrounding community can be truly beneficial to their overall development and college experience,” said Ann Brown, SAU director of student activities.

For more information about the competition, visit http://bit.ly/2CVjOA5.

 

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