February 14, 2023
19-Year-Old HBCU Student Receives $25K From Pharrell Williams For Gun Safety Technology
Kayla Austin, a 19-year-old sophomore at Howard University, pitched and won $25,000 at Pharrell Williams’ Mighty Dream Forum and Black Ambition in Norfolk, Virginia. Her patent-pending technology called “My Gun’s Been Moved” provides gun owners with a 24/7 monitor and notification if their gun has been moved. The idea was one of many to win at last year’s Mighty Dream Forum which took place in November.
The idea came about at 12 years old after participating in a youth program, hearing a family member’s story, and watching the news on gun violence in Chicago. She had many sleepless nights thinking about how she could use technology to provide better gun safety for parents to protect their children.
Austin has facilitated and participated in many events supporting gun safety education, laws, and practices. Her intense community activism has granted her recognition from the State of Illinois and Congress. As a result, she was excited to share her invention with the Mighty Dream Forum three months ago. This network provides access and opportunity to Black and Latinx entrepreneurs, “I’m still trying to process it all,” said Austin, a film and digital media major in her sophomore year at Howard University. “To receive support from my favorite artist is a dream come true.”
Kayla was also selected to participate in one of 10 open booth spots at CES, the most influential tech event in the world. It took place in Las Vegas in January 2023 proving ground for breakthrough technologies and global innovation. She has been named Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 in 2022 as Youth You Need to Know highlighting her work as a youth gun safety advocate.
Though winning $25,000 and the amazing accolades, an additional $20,000 in resources, advertising, and ASW credits, she still needs $75,000 to manufacture, complete the software application, and launch her invention successfully. Therefore, Austin has started a GoFundMe campaign to help her reach her goal of eliminating severe trauma within communities across the country. Donors will be able to donate on different levels to help make history with the first technology-driven gun safety product that will save generations of lives.
This news was originally reported by www.Blacknews.com