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FlexFactor™ Finals: Silicon Valley Lets High School Entrepreneurs Shine

SAN JOSE, Calif.Dec. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — NextFlex®, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) Manufacturing Institute, today announced that, together with partners San Jose City College (SJCC) and Jabil, it will host FlexFactor™ Finals: Silicon Valley at 5:30 p.m. this evening in the SJCC Theater. Thirteen teams of high school students from across Silicon Valley were selected to participate in a final pitch of their FHE-enabled products to a celebrity panel of judges. Awards will be given for first, second, and third place winners.

“In support of our commitment to the future of advanced manufacturing, NextFlex created a program that energizes youth, industry, and local communities around the importance of technologies such as flexible hybrid electronics as they relate to everyday life,” said NextFlex Executive Director Malcolm Thompson. “By showcasing the vibrancy and reach of modern-day manufacturing, NextFlex, San Jose City College, and Jabil are simultaneously dispelling false perceptions and catalyzing an important group of future industry leaders – especially young women and other underrepresented populations. Our FlexFactor™ program is at the center of this growing movement.”

FlexFactor™ is a month-long program that exposes high school students to the vast range of professional opportunities within advanced manufacturing. Small teams of students identify a human health- or performance-related problem, conceptualize an FHE device to solve it, and develop a viable business model for commercializing their concept. After a month of engaged research, coaching in entrepreneurship, product design, and customer discovery work, students pitch their product and business models to a panel of industry professionals in a “shark tank” style setting. Students who complete all requirements earn college credit with San Jose City College. Finalist teams will then compete in today’s FlexFactor™ Finals: Silicon Valley.

Industry mentors, teachers, school administrators, and friends and family are invited to cheer on the 13 student teams from Branham, Independence, Leigh, and Lincoln High Schools in San Jose, Westmont High School in Campbell, and Wilcox High School in Santa Clara. The teams will pitch such creative product ideas as Ovi Patch, a thin, waterproof adhesive that records basal body temperature; Baby Watch, a wearable that monitors heart rate, blood oxygen levels and temperature in newborns; and HelloSign, gloves that convert sign language to audible sound.

The celebrity panel of judges includes:

  • Daniel Bobay, President of the Board, Milpitas Unified School District and SVCTE Board
  • Ed Hendricks, Senior Director Business Development, Jabil
  • Dalen Keys, Site Leader, DowDuPont Sunnyvale Technology Center
  • Donovan Lazaro, Economic Development Officer for the City of San Jose and the San Jose Mayor’s Office
  • Miyu Nakajima, Student, Abraham Lincoln High School
  • Patty Nation, Director of Global Corporate and Community Engagement at Xilinx
  • Malcolm Thompson, Executive Director, NextFlex
  • Van Ton-Quinlivan, Vice Chancellor, Workforce and Digital Futures, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office
  • Nick Uhas, Actor, Producer & Host of YouTube pop science show Nickipedia
  • Nicole Walker, Sr. Director, R&D Business Development, Jabil

The following organizations are supporting students with awards and opportunities: Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)/Tooling U, The Silicon Valley Organization, work2future, Jabil, Xilinx, and others.

The San Jose City College Theater is located at 2100 Moorpark Avenue in San Jose.

For more information about NextFlex workforce development programs, click here.

Note to editors: Photos available upon request.

About Flexible Hybrid Electronics
FHE gives everyday products the power of silicon ICs by combining them with new and unique printing processes and new materials. The result: lightweight, low-cost, flexible, conformable, stretchable, and highly efficient smart products with innumerable uses for consumer, commercial and military applications.

About NextFlex
NextFlex®, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Institute, is a leading force in the Manufacturing USAnetwork of Institutes. Formed through a cooperative agreement between the US Department of Defense (DoD) and FlexTech Alliance, NextFlex is a consortium of companies, academic institutions, non-profits and state, local and federal governments with a shared goal of advancing U.S. manufacturing of FHE. Since its formation in 2015, NextFlex’s elite team of thought leaders, educators, problem solvers, and manufacturers have come together to collectively facilitate innovation, narrow the manufacturing workforce gap, and promote sustainable manufacturing ecosystems.  For more information, visit and follow NextFlex on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

About San Jose City College
The mission of San Jose City College (SJCC) is to effect social justice by providing open and equitable access to quality education and programs that both challenge and prepare individuals for successful careers and active participation in a diverse, global society. SJCC serves over 14,000 students annually and awards over 1,000 degrees and certificates every year, with one of the highest transfer rates to local four-year universities. Established in 1921, SJCC is the oldest community college in Santa Clara County, and has cultivated a thriving campus with technology and learning centers that facilitate student learning and interaction. Located in Silicon Valley, SJCC offers all the benefits of being embedded in the world’s hub of technology innovation and entrepreneurship.

About Jabil
Jabil is among the largest manufacturing services companies in existence. From serving some of the best-known brands to the coolest tech startups, we literally enable these incredible companies to change our world. And with a drive to become the most technologically advanced manufacturing solutions provider on the planet, Jabil’s engineers create the new technologies and processes that make our customers’ innovative and sustainable products possible.