Posing for a group photo.

Fifty finalists gathered at Sofia University on September 17 to compete in the 2017 YIBI (Youth International Business Initiative) Final Grand International Conference. These finalists were the top winners of each semifinal round. The students have worked over the past few months creating and perfecting their business pitches, which they delivered in front of a panel of judges and venture capitalists, in addition to a live audience at the conference. The products included everything from mobile apps, to air filters, to clothing, to a wide variety of different services.

This summer, YIBI held its annual business classes where students would create a startup company, with business professionals who would teach a course in the morning and qualified YIBI officers mentored them in the afternoon. As mentors, the YIBI team guided students and motivated them and helped them to prepare for the semifinals and grand conference, a competition that would take place after the classes.

Although every project was excellent, judges eventually did choose the top three winning teams. In first place, was Homemade, an app which allowed everyday people to become chefs. Second place was given to two teams, Automedic, a needle-less injection as a vital monitoring device targeted to those with coronary heart disease, and Refresh, a company that sells past sell by date food that would otherwise be thrown out. Third place was awarded to team Adstract, which used router based platform to promote cheap, fast advertising tailored to a person, and team Poliglot, a social media platform that connected those who speak a target language, allowing both individuals to learn from each other, both receiving the prize. First place winners received $400, second place $200, and third place $100. In addition, sponsors gave out their own awards to teams of their choice.

YIBI is an international organization started by founder and current president Erika Yang in 2014. The mission of YIBI is to foster youth entrepreneurship and provide opportunities to all students wanting to learn more about leadership and business. YIBI currently has 15 branches across the United States and has headquarters in international countries such as Zimbabwe, Singapore, Japan, and China. Currently, there are over 1000 students who have benefited from YIBI. In addition, YIBI provides the YIBI Scholarship to low-income students to give all an opportunity to attend these business classes.