Wisconsin Technology Council: 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.

Second place was awarded to a team of Wyatt Barker, Brayden Deering and Noah Schipper from Kimberly High School for their entry, Teplos Snowboard/Ski Helmets. Teplos allows customers to customize their helmet with technology and accessories, such as Bluetooth, GPS tracking and temperature control.

Cecilia Maricle, Wyatt Linder, Teemu Keinanen, Georgia Maricle, Mikko Keinanen, Nevaeh Prodzinski of Marsupial Undershorts was awarded third place for their entry, light-weight, fitted undershorts with pockets for holding a phone, money, keys and more.

The Wisconsin YES! contest is produced by theWisconsin Technology Council. Major support is provided byWEA Trust and, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement.

Contest partners have included the Department of Financial InstitutionsDepartment of Public Instruction, theAssociation of Wisconsin School AdministratorsMake a Difference Wisconsin,Project Lead the Way WisconsinSTEM Forward,Wisconsin Association of School BoardsWisconsin Society of Science Teachers andWisconsin Association of School Business Officials

Modeled after the successful Governor’s Business Plan Contest, Wisconsin YES! is designed to teach students how innovation in science and technology fields can be developed into plausible business plans.  It is an opportunity for students to explore the connections between science, technology and entrepreneurship, and for educators and judges to cultivate an interest in these arenas. Visit https://wisconsinyes.com/ to learn more.     

In alphabetical order by submission name, finalists in the tenth annual contest were:

Submission NameNameCommunity/Grade
Ab ´N OliSky Sirinek, Abby SeizerWauwatosa/9th grade and under
AnywhereTourJulius ZakariaOak Creek/11th grade
Becker BedsJason AdixMequon/11th grade
EZ GardenLily WiemerWauwatosa/9th grade and under
Hung DungDerius LucasWauwatosa/9th grade and under
Marsupial UndershortsCecilia Maricle, Wyatt Linder, Teemu Keinanen, Georgia Maricle, Mikko Keinanen, Nevaeh ProdzinskiHolmen/9th grade and under
MetopiaWyatt JohnsonBurnett/12th grade
ReluNicholas HuMequon/11th grade
RipeWyatt EhrhardtVerona/9th grade and under
SchlickDalton Derringer, Sean KruegerCrivitz/9th grade and under
SignfluentEmily ScottWauwatosa/9th grade and under
Step-UpFrankie MaynardBrodhead/10th grade
Teplos Snowboard/SkiWyatt BarkerKimberly/12th grade
TouchDriveEinthiri MudiliFranklin/11th grade
We InvestMax RanftWauwatosa/9th grade and under
Zoom BookIsabel TaorminaWauwatosa/9th grade and under