Tech & diversity propel local winners in Girls with Impact's 'Ignite!' venture competition

Oct. 27—Greenwich, CT — Girls With Impact (GWI), the national nonprofit business education program for young women, today announced the three winners of its latest venture competition.

GWI's IGNITE! Venture Competition takes place quarterly — the culmination of an intensive 10-week business and entrepreneurial Academy that has already served over 15,000 young women. The competition recognizes those students for their creativity, dedication, and venture's potential to make a positive impact in their communities and beyond.

"These young CEOs exemplify the enormous potential in our next generation — and underscores why it's time to double-down on women and girls," said Girls With Impact CEO Jennifer Openshaw. "It's clear from their ventures that they're eager to drive impact in their own communities. We couldn't be more proud of them and can't wait to see their impact on the larger world."

The following three young women were awarded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place cash prizes of $1,000, $750, and $500 respectively. They will all be included in Girls With Impact's annual competition, slated for June 2024.

The winners are:

1st Place: Ivy Gomes, 19, Queens, NY — Student at Boston University & CEO, iLearn-US, an app designed as an "informational hub to guide and support immigrants in navigating their life in the US in a language setting in their native tongue." Ivy attends Boston University, studying data science and business management.

"My parents are immigrants from Bangladesh and like many people in my life, they struggled to adjust to life in the states. I wanted to create something that would help them as a way of giving back to the community that has been so integral in shaping my identity," said Ivy. "This program was exceptionally helpful for both my personal and entrepreneurial growth."

2nd Place: Te'a Williams, 23, Norman, OK — CEO, The CookOut App, an exclusively Black event sharing and social connecting app that brings communities together through a shared love of food and culture. Customers can host, organize, and share virtual and in-person events, social gatherings, and activities around the globe through similar interests, hobbies, experiences and professions. Similar to MeetUp but for global Black communities, the idea is to consolidate information and make it as accessible as possible for Black communities to build more solid spaces to thrive in. Te'a is currently finishing her Masters in Media Relations at Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals.

"Girls WIth Impact enabled me to bring my idea to life" says Te'a. "My coach made all the difference in my growth and confidence."

Catrina Kellaghan, 17, Jersey City, NJ — CEO, Find & Support JC, a community-focused non-profit app that locates all the minority-owned businesses and notable minority designed architecture in Jersey City, New Jersey. It will allow users to find directions to each business, with descriptions of their services, and options to make donations. She attends Notre Dame School of Manhattan.

The venture competition submissions were judged based on seven criteria: Business Description, Market Analysis, Creativity, Feasibility, Growth Potential, Operations, and Overall Presentation.

GWI's Ignite Venture Competition is designed to showcase the impact of early business and leadership education, especially in young women. It is part of GWI's Business & Leadership Academy, a 10-week instructor-led program in which students bring an idea to life and learn foundational business and work success skills in the process. The program's outcomes include increased confidence, college readiness, and professional skills such as tech, financial management, and public speaking.

The program is offered tuition-free as a result of corporate supporters, foundations and donors. Young women and girls ages 14-24 can register for classes held year-round at

About Girls With Impact

Created following discussions in Davos, Girls With Impact (GWI), a 501c3, is the nation's only online business and leadership program for young women 14-24. Its mission is to level the playing field for all women in business through education, mentoring and networking. To date, GWI has served over 15,000 with a goal to reach 1 million with its tuition-free education. Visit Watch our sizzle reel.