Online Language Learning Startup Wins 2022 UH Venture Competition

Goall won the 2022 uh Business competition. (Photo credit: Paula Ota)

Startup that helps people learn different languages ​​wins 2022 award University of Hawaii Company competition (UHVC). GOAL (Excellent Online Activities for Language Learning), run by the University of Hawaii in Manoa PhD students, won a prize of over $34,000.

GOAL provides a web and mobile app to help adult language learners achieve their goals through customizable, research-based task-based activities. His prize includes $10,000 from title sponsors Hawaiian Electric Industries (HE I) and Hawaiian Electric, and over $24,000 in in-kind prizes. The team members are Ann Choe, Kristen Urada, Yang Liu and Susanne DeVorewho are all PhD students in uh Department of Second Language Studies at Mānoa in College of Arts, Languages ​​and Letters.

people looking at a person on a podium
The final event of the uh Venture Competition was held at the American Savings Bank campus in downtown Honolulu. (Photo credit: Paula Ota)

“We are very honored to receive first place,” said Choe, GOALleader. “This whole experience has been a fantastic opportunity to develop our knowledge and entrepreneurial skills. We are grateful for PACEour coach Jeff Hui and those who supported GOAL all along. We look forward to moving forward GOAL to its next step.

GOAL was one of three finalists who presented to a panel of judges at UHVCThe latest event was held in person on April 29 at American Savings Bank. See the event on the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship’s (PACE) Youtube channel.

UHVC is organized each year by PACE in uh Manoa’s Shidler College of Commerce to support budding entrepreneurs by providing hands-on training, mentorship and resources to students at all 10 campuses uh System who wish to start a new business.


people watch people on a stage
The final event of the uh Venture Competition was held at the American Savings Bank campus in downtown Honolulu. (Photo credit: Paula Ota)

Resesio, a company that offers an automated optimization model for the construction design process resulting in significant material and cost savings, won the second prize, which includes $5,000 in HE I and Hawaiian Electric and $14,400 in in-kind prizes. The team members are uh Manoa Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD students Mohamed Cherif, Amr Ghanem and Mostafa Abdelhafeez. Sherif and Ghanem won the 2021 uh Breakthrough Innovation Challenge and a $5,000 prize for a company called Model-C, which focuses on infrastructure simulation and optimization technology.

The third prize was the Ōfaga Leo preschool system, which offers immersive language education in Hawaii and the continental United States in areas where there is a high demand for Samoan language child care and preschool services. The third prize totaled more than $10,000, including a cash prize of $2,500 sponsored by SLT Beam in honor of pioneer Billy Richardson. The team members are John Patu, Junior.a PhD student in Revitalization of Hawaiian and Native Language and Culture to uh Hi, and Carmelita T.Patucreative media student at Windward Community College.

These three teams reached the final after beating 25 other teams in two previous rounds of competition.

“We are proud of all the courageous teams who have embarked on their entrepreneurial adventure through competition. We were delighted to see a diverse group of participants from six uh System Campus with startup ideas, ranging from geothermal energy to educational platforms to consumer products,” said PACE Executive director Sandra Fujiyama. “This competition is not possible without the generous support of our sponsors, partners and volunteers, for whom I am very grateful.”

“TO HE Iwe recognize the vital role that entrepreneurs play in creating and sustaining a vibrant economy for our island state,” said Scott Seu, HE I president and CEO. “We applaud the innovative ideas and hard work of all involved, and acknowledge the many mentors and professors who have guided them through the process. »

In addition to cash prizes, each winning team will win a set of carefully selected support services prizes. Award sponsors include Blue Logic Labs, SLT BeamHub Coworking HawaiiNew Venture Pro, Pineapple Tweed and Vantage Counsel.

Outstanding Student Entrepreneur

Fujiyama also introduced Madonna Castro Perez with PACEof the Outstanding Student Entrepreneur of the Year for her outstanding contribution to entrepreneurial activities at the university and in the community. The law student was part of the winning team for the 2020 competition. She has served as Vice President of the Calvin Shindo Student Venture Fund since February 2021, leading a committee of 12 students to manage the venture capital funding process. She served as a civil rights attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii and intern at Blue Startups.

This program is an example of uh Mānoa’s goal of Improve student success (PDF) and Research Excellence: Advancing the Enterprise of Research and Creative Work (PDF), two of the four objectives identified in the Strategic Plan 2015-2025 (PDF), updated December 2020.

-By Marc Arakaki

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