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United Way of the Greater Triangle in Partnership with The Institute Invest in Young Innovators at Idea Generation Next-College Edition

IGN-CE Finalists and Judges


Irene Godínez

VP of Marketing & Communications

Cell: (919) 627-7511

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              

February 24, 2017

United Way of the Greater Triangle in Partnership with The Institute Invest in Young Innovators at Idea Generation Next-College Edition

$30K in awards go to three Triangle students for their innovative solutions addressing: GED completion, school-to-prison pipeline, and short-term employment opportunities for skilled workers.

Morrisville, NC– On the last day of National Entrepreneur Week, United Way of the Greater Triangle (UWGT) announced today that a panel of judges comprised of community and business leaders selected Destiny Alexander, a recent graduate of North Carolina Central University, as the first place winner for her idea of “The Tassel is Worth the Hassle” at the first Idea Generation Next—College Edition pitch competition. Alexander’s $15K winning concept is to address the obstacles single mothers living in poverty face when completing their education by bringing GED preparation courses directly to the families. Tyler Ford of Shaw University tied for second place with  Marjorie Segule of North Carolina State University. They will each receive a $7,500 financial award. Ford’s idea is a mobile application to connect skilled workers with employers on a short-term basis, and Segule’s idea is to address the school-to-prison pipeline by creating outlets of expression to address chronic misbehavior and utilizing technology to help students keep up with schoolwork while on suspension.  The financial awards will go towards the implementation of these winning ideas.

Idea Generation Next launched in 2016 as a platform to support innovators from traditionally underrepresented groups in the entrepreneurial sector, women and people of color, gain access to resources through this unique pitch competition. This year, United Way has partnered with The Institute to kick off Idea Generation Next—College Edition which is designed to encourage and promote new ideas from current and recent college students committed to addressing social issues facing our communities. The Institute will coach and continue to mentor Alexander, Ford, and Segule to bring to life their winning ideas. IGN-CE is part of United Way’s social innovation initiative to connect, engage, and collaborate with innovators, intrapraneurs, entrepreneurs, and individuals to improve the lives of families and children in low-income households in Durham, Johnston, Orange, and Wake counties.

“We live in a region where our best resource is our people. What’s more, we are in close proximity to the incubator of bright and creative minds with our local colleges and universities, so it only made sense to partner with United Way as we, together, invest in the creation of a pipeline of young innovators through IGN-CE,” said Farad Ali, President of The Institute NC.

The finalists made their initial pitches on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, and have since been through an accelerator process with mentors from the Triangle business and entrepreneurial community to refine their ideas to create change, building their skills and networks. Earlier today, the five finalists pitched their ideas once more to an engaged audience at the PNC arena in Raleigh. Other finalists ideas included: Nefertiti Peoples from Wake Technical Community College: Peoples’ Prep and Progress, and Jay-Len Roberts of William Peace University: BOWLS for SOULS

“We want to change the way people think—and who they think of—when they hear terms like “innovator” and “entrepreneur,” expressed Mack Koonce, President and CEO of United Way of the Greater Triangle. “This is one reason we intentionally invested in underrepresented innovators who have thoughtful and creative solutions to some of our region’s most pressing challenges. This is an accessible platform to be heard. The expertise is right here in our community and we are looking forward to seeing Destiny, Tyler, and Marjorie’s ideas take shape in the near future.”

Universities taking part in the challenge include North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, Shaw University, Saint Augustine’s University, Wake Technical Community College, and William Peace University.

Challenge Sponsors: PNC, American Tobacco, Duke Energy, Apple, Minority Business Development Agency, BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, GSK, IBM, North Carolina Central University, Shaw University

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About United Way of the Greater Triangle (UWGT)
United Way of the Greater Triangle invests predominantly in collaboration among nonprofits and works as a funder and a partner toward long-term, sustainable solutions to some of the most pressing social issues in four North Carolina counties—Durham, Johnston, Orange, and Wake. A two-generational approach to support vulnerable children and their families puts them at the center of services to dramatically change the course of their futures. UWGT actively mobilizes the caring power of communities to build resources, focus investments, encourage community engagement, and foster cross-sector partnerships to improve lives and inspire generations of achievement. Learn more at 

About The Institute NC

The Institute is a nonprofit management consulting and services firm focused on business diversity.  We are trusted advisors to businesses large and small, government agencies, policymakers and organizations that understand the key role diversity plays in ensuring business and economic success. Our client services include customized one-on-one assistance, training, knowledge, networks and solutions that create diverse, globally competitive companies. We are a leading voice and constant advocate for public policies and business practices that promote marketplace diversity. Learn more at