Rhea Somaiya, High School Junior, Part of Winning Team to Receive TiE DC Award for TYE DC Business Idea, ‘Mirror Me’

Rhea Somaiya

The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE DC) Gala, held in December 2012, marked the start of President P.V. Boccasam’s leadership, taking over for 2012 President Dolly Oberoi. The event included a fireside chat with Aneesh Chopra, former federal CTO, well-known entrepreneur and AOL co-founder Steve Case, and a talk from Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.

The gala also honored the winning team (of three finalists) from the Young Entrepreneurs Program (TYE), sponsored by Sanjay Govil and Infinite Computer Solutions. Through the summer of 2012, about 70 high school students participated in a business plan competition with the top three teams being invited to the Gala, where the winner was revealed.

Sanjay Govil, TyE Program Sponsor and CEO Infinite Computer Solutions, said “TyE offers students an opportunity to explore what it takes to build a business, and learn directly from successful entrepreneurs.”

Rhea Somaiya, Tej Joshi, Sharika Dhar, Varun Kripanandan, and Saketh Vellanki comprised the team of first-place TYE DC winners for their business idea, “Mirror Me.” The students will now compete with 40 other teams at the Global TYE competition, which will take place in June 2013 at George Mason University.

Rhea Somaiya, daughter of NETE‘s Managing Director Sandeep Somaiya, shared with us her reaction on winning first-place.

“As a high school student, I never thought our team would get selected and win a prestigious entrepreneurship/best business plan competition like the TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TyE) Global Program and get the first prize from Steve Case himself,” Rhea said. “Working with mentors and fellow students on the business case gave me hands-on exposure to the various facets of entrepreneurship including: ideation, defining ones market and customer, financing businesses/understanding financials, the legal elements involved in entrepreneurship, various business models, how to leverage opportunities in foreign markets, implementation/roll out, and how to effectively pitch the business and business plan to professional investors.

This program and winning the team best business case has changed my view on what I want to do in college and how I want to proceed with my career. I want to be a Washington Entrepreneur and at the same time be involved in public service.”

The TYE Program Committee’s Sheena Gill also gave her thoughts, saying,

“The aim of the TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TyE) Global Program is to empower our youth to become the next generation of entrepreneurs. TyE Global is a unique program that helps high school children learn about the challenges and rewards of becoming an entrepreneur. Seasoned entrepreneurs and mentors coach high school children based on a business-focused curriculum. The program comes to a close with global Business Plan Competition for the youth. The TyE program nurtures the creativity, self-confidence, leadership and overall development of the students.”

Rhea Somaiya with mom Jolly Vasani, NETE Founder and President (second from left) with Senator Tim Kaine at the 2012 Asian American Women’s Roundtable Conference in Vienna, Va.

Rhea, a high school junior at The Madeira School in McLean, Va., is not only involved in several extracurricular activities, but also entrepreneurial activities and volunteer work. Aside from “Mirror Me,” she created a high school campaign called “Girls First!” using QR codes on pamphlets and t-shirts, assisted with online marketing strategy and quality assurance for LogoLabs.com, an online e-commerce site, raised money by selling self-designed bracelets “Save Memories” for Alzheimer’s Research, attended entrepreneurship classes at George Mason University, and was even invited to attend Senator Tim Kaine’s Asian American Women Entrepreneur’s Roundtable in 2012.

This summer, Rhea will intern in Peru to assist Peruvian artists set up electronic commerce businesses on the Internet. She is also currently interning in Senator Charles Schumer’s Office in Washington, D.C.

As for future aspirations, Rhea said she wants to attend “undergraduate and graduate school at a good university, and hopefully become a successful Washington executive, ideally as a Federal Contractor/Entrepreneur.”

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