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January 25, 2016

Still Time to Vote in Windstream's 'Smart Tomorrow Start-Up' Challenge

By Rory J. Thompson, Web Editor

They say that the upcoming generation of students is the most connected in history, and they’re putting that connectivity to good use by collaborating on some unique ideas.

To that end Windstream (News - Alert), a provider of advanced network communications, has launched and is now entering the final round of the Smart Tomorrow Start-Up Challenge in partnership with to give the public a vote in selecting a winning student start-up concept.

Windstream is a Platinum sponsor of ITEXPO happening this week in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Company leaders Kevin Kopco and Marc Hurlbut will also be delivering a keynote speech on Tues. at 1pm.

Prospective voters have until today to visit the ‘SmartTomorrow’ website  to watch and vote for their favorite start-up video from each of the three finalists from Lexington, KY; Lincoln, NE; and Sugar Land, TX.

“The public vote, in partnership with, represents one of three final votes that will determine the winner,” the company said in a statement. “Jessica Peltz-Zatulove, Principal at kbs+ Ventures, and Windstream, will award the other two votes. The video with the majority vote will be named winner.”

The three finalists include:

Thought Bubble: A mobile application designed to create a collaborative, real-time brainstorm space. (Carter Knopik at Southwest High School; Lincoln, NE)

Nextile: An eco-centric company focused on the production of textiles made from recycled papers and discarded books. (Anne Brooks and Josh Adams at Montessori School of Kentucky; Lexington, KY)

InnovaTech: A ride-sharing service that works in the place of ambulances to reduce wait times for people who need to get to a hospital with non life-threatening injuries. (Ahsan Zafar and Anya Arambulo at Hightower High School; Missouri City, TX)

“We’re extremely impressed with the quality of submissions from all the students that participated in this year’s Smart Tomorrow challenge,” said Sarah Day, president of consumer and small business at Windstream. “This year we wanted to create a challenging, real-life scenario that encouraged creative thinking, and there’s no question students rose to the occasion by delivering ideas that were truly smart and inspiring.”

The Smart Tomorrow Start-Up Challenge is a $40,000 entrepreneurship contest for high school students. Divided into local and final rounds, the competition challenges students to design a start-up business offering a product or service that can improve our communities and the way we live.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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