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The winning TyE group will head to D.C. for a national competition. From left: Serena Ahuja, Amrita Ram, Diane T., Aarthi Ganapathi and Sonya Ahuja.


A group of Seattle-area high-schoolers is heading to a national competition after creating a business plan for piezo electric flooring boards that convert kinetic energy generated from foot steps into electricity.

Teams from Seattle’s TiE Young Entrepreneur (TyE) Program, a branch of local non-profit entrepreneurial network TiE Seattle, were coached in an eight-month program that culminated with a business plan competition this past weekend in Redmond.

Team EnviroTech came away as winners after presenting their idea for flooring and installing 5′ x 6′ tiles made up of piezo material and protected by durable covers. The idea was pretty cool, as the electricity generated through the steps in a high concentration area during the day is sufficient to light up a whole school for more than 24 hours.

The students will head to Washington D.C. next month to compete against other TyE teams from around the world and a chance at a $25,000 first place prize.

tieThe TyE program is completely run by volunteers and costs particpants $150 for each eight-week term. Students learn all about entrepreneurship and have a chance to meet people like Apptio Sunny Gupta and angel investor Geoff Entress.

TiE is a global network of entrepreneurs that was founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley. Its original name stood for “The Indus Entrepreneurs,” but has since evolved into “Talent, Ideas and Enterprise.” There are now more than 58 chapters in 12 countries.

TiE Seattle invites notable entrepreneurs from the area to speak at monthly events for its members that cover everything from the future of education to general startup tips.

The organization just debuted a new venture called TiE Angels Group Seattle (TAGS) and includes Charter Members of TiE Seattle. TAGS will provide early stage investment, support and guidance opportunities to its members. The group plans to invest in early-stage companies in the arenas of software, Internet, Mobility, clean tech, healthcare, education and medical device.

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