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Conrad Challenge team Nexkap

Upper School

Student entrepreneurs win Power Pitch Award from the Conrad Challenge

June 4, 2020

Congratulations to team Nexkap on being named Power Pitch Winners in the Conrad Challenge’s Smoke-Free World, Repurposed Farmlands & Tobacco Crops category at last week’s virtual Innovation Summit! The Nexkap team, comprised of Cary Academy students Mila Patel ’21, Natasha Sachar ’22, Sonia Shah ’22, and Ella Gupta ’23, was coached by Upper School English and Entrepreneurship teacher Palmer Seeley.

This year was Cary Academy’s first time participating in the Conrad Challenge, an annual, multi-phase innovation and entrepreneurship competition held by the Conrad Foundation. Each year, small teams of students, ages 13-18, from around the world create products and/or services to address some of the most pressing global and local challenges. They become entrepreneurial problem-solvers, designing the future while addressing challenging social, scientific and societal issues through utilizing their creativity and critical-thinking skills.

Nexkap built a business model sustainably repurposing tobacco crops to address skincare needs and support one of North Carolina’s traditional agricultural crops. See their award-winning pitch here:

The third and final round of the Conrad Challenge was held virtually May 27-29. Each team of finalists participated by engaging in fifteen minutes of Q&A with the judges and staffing their virtual booth during their competition category’s Expo Open House. The virtual Innovation Summit allowed participants to attend the Cosmic Chats with professional innovators and connect with one another through open networking time and Connection and Creation sessions facilitated by the Conrad Foundation Alumni Leadership Council.

The “Power Pitch” awards were earned by the teams who best presented their virtual pitch to the panel of judges, along with their peers and industry professionals.

Cary Academy’s Center for Community Engagement partnered with the NCCU School of Law’s Intellectual Property Law Clinic to provide guidance and feedback to the students as they prepared a provisional patent filing with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. 

Written by Dan Smith, Digital Content Producer and Social Media Manager

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