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Georgia State University team competes in entrepreneurship challenge

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- A Georgia State University team is among the top entrepreneur teams in the country competing in a "Shark Tank"-style competition this weekend. The students are pitching an app they say will help the environment, and they're hoping to bring home thousands of dollars to fund their venture.

Conserve co-founder and CEO Nicole Toole and her fellow GSU teammates say they have the next big invention: a first-of-its-kind mobile app that will change recycling as we know it.

"Conserve is a mobile app that uses computer vision to help you know exactly how and where to recycle your materials, and we also give you rewards for discounts in your community when you recycle correctly," said Toole.

The team is in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge at the University of St. Thomas. They're among the top 25 teams in the country, and the only group from Georgia, pitching their ideas to judges and hoping to take home the top prize of $50,000. Conserve is one of four competing ventures designed to help the environment.

"The majority of materials that we put in our recycling bin are just going to the landfill, because we're not doing it correctly," Toole said. "What we're really solving is recycling contamination," she said, referring to the app.

Laura Dunham is the associate dean of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship in the Opus School of Business at the University of St. Thomas.

"It's not just one competition. It's three days of workshops and networking. We have three competitions over the course of three days, and we give away $215,000 in seed capital," Dunham said.

The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, which is named after Best Buy Founder Dick Schulze, sponsors the event. This is the sixth year of the competition.

"The idea of actually bringing students together from campuses all over the country was really powerful to us," said Dunham. "It's Shark Tank with a heart and with a great educational mission."

Toole says Conserve app users will help serve an even bigger mission.

"Now, you can make the right decision and also save recycling streams, which also helps to save the planet," she said.

To learn more about the competition and view the results, click here.

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