Around 28-million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. That’s about 10% of the population according to the website startasl.com.
Young entrepreneur Jankani Masi is involved with that community. That’s Masi’s mom, her way of communicating with the world is through American Sign Language and her daughter.
“She’s basically the whole reason why I am here in America, because she actually adopted me from a poor country Guatemala. I’m really glad that she basically taught me my sign language and made me a part of a community that most people aren’t a part of.” said Masi.
Masi and her partner Tyvon Clark, inspired to help the deaf community presented their app called “Aqua” at NFTE’s Young Entrepreneurship Challenge in Baltimore.
“Sign language translator app that we try to bring in the hearing and the deaf communities together by having a device that can help communicate them both and help the deaf community be more interactive with the hearing communities.” said Masi.
Aqua founders say the app records the person using sign then translates it to English either through audio or text.
“When you are writing out it takes a lot more time because you are writing it and you are trying to make it as clear as possible, so while you are signing it and using our app it’s going to save a lot of time.” said Masi.
With no time, the judges agreed to send these two to the Young Entrepreneurship Baltimore-Washington D.C. Metro Finals on June 18th.
“I felt so happy and I’m so proud of me and my partner because we did that and we are moving on.” said Clark.
D.R.O.P is one of two other business that will go face to face with Aqua for a chance at Nationals.
“I felt very great, I felt as if though my hard work and dedication paid off at the end of the day.” said Williams.
NFTE, the network for teaching entrepreneurship is awarding up to 17-thousand dollars at the Nationals round in New York this October.
For those who haven’t made the cut- a NFTE judge and entrepreneur says it’s not the time to give up.
“It’s the more realistic lesson in business, you know, the first idea typically is not the one that you know, wins. It’s you coming up with another idea or revisiting that idea or changing and adjusting, that’s what business is.” said Brown.