31 May Wauwatosa team wins annual ‘Wisconsin YES!’ youth biz plan contest with sign language app
Emily Scott and William Moertl, an 8th grade duo at Whitman Middle School in Wauwatosa, are the first-place winners in Wisconsin YES!, a statewide youth business plan contest for students in middle and high school.
Scott and Moertl’s company, Signfluent, will produce a software app that can be used to learn and translate Sign Language. Signfluent has a database of signs, grammatical rules and terminology, and uses a camera-based recognition system to translate to non-sign users.
Scott and Moertl will present their product June 2 at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, to be held at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee.
“Up to 500,000 Americans and 125,000 people in Britain use sign language every day, so Signfluent stands to be important innovation for that market,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which produces the contest. “The team hopes to work with other languages if they are successful in Signfluent’s early stages.”
Students submitted their ideas in a 250-word online summary to compete in Phase 1 of the contest. Professionals from across the state served as judges, provided feedback and scored the ideas. Twelve entries moved on to Phase 2, which required 1,000-word executive summaries covering company overview; product or service description; customer definition; market description, size and sales strategy; competition; team; financials; and capital needs.