(WXYZ) — Cranbrook Kingswood School teens have placed Michigan on the world map for winning a global competition that focuses on solving sustainability issues.
The annual World Series of Innovation competition invited young people ages 13 to 24 to tackle innovation challenges aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal.
Thousands across the US and from around the world participated, but it was 17-year-old Jason Lin and Daniel Shi who walked away with the top prize in the EY Collaborate for Impact category.
The duo have been best friends since the 9th grade and over the years they’ve also toyed with the idea of becoming business partners.
“Our freshman year we did like a renting clothing business. We learned through our failures,” Lin said.
But for the NFTE competition, the 17-year-olds were determined to win.
“We won first place, in this competition and we won a grant of $2,500, which we are using to put it back in our app and make it even better,” Lin added.
It’s called the MVMNT app. It helps users discover eco-friendly businesses, connecting with local environmental organizations, and also shop for sustainable products.
“Comparable apps don’t have this environmentally focused feature, and we want to target an audience that wants to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle,” Shi said.
The MVMNT app has already clocked over 200 downloads on the app store. And now the team is aiming to launch a new version this summer.
“It’s going to include, like a built-in GPS system, like a leader board so you can compete with friends to see who is going to more eco-friendly restaurants,” Lin said.
Eco-friendly businesses are not only great for the environment, but they are also beneficial for human health as they keep the carbon footprint to a minimum.
Meanwhile, the duo says the secret to their success is never to give up.
“We’ve both supported each other in ways that when we are doubting ourselves or when we are down. We support each other and encourage each other to keep going,” Shi said.
Being young Asian-Americans, Jason and Daniel feel proud to not only create a name for themselves selves but also represent Michigan on a global stage.
“No matter who you are if you really set out to do that you can accomplish your goals. If you want to make an impact, you can accomplish your goals. And our school is a diverse school and there are Asian Americans and African Americans and I feel like our app and this urge to help the environment really helps to bring everyone together,” said Lin.
Jason and Daniel are also looking for investors as they would like to roll out the MVMNT app in other states and hopefully more countries in the near future. To be part of their journey, drop them an email [email protected]