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innoviate Mississippi

COLUMBUS, Miss.—Dameia Graham, a graduate student at Mississippi University for Women, recently pitched a new app to address infant mortality and assist new parents in Mississippi at the inaugural NextUp Statewide Student Pitch Competition hosted by the Mississippi Entrepreneurship Forum.

At the digital conference, Graham presented KidMD, an app that provides information and news about the health and well-being of infants and toddlers. Additionally, the app would allow parents to monitor and record the health of their children. Graham described the app as a “one-stop shop” for new parents and direct communication to emergency services.

“Mississippi leads the nation in infant mortality. There has to be a solution for parents to monitor growth and symptoms in order to relate to doctors, especially in our rural communities,” said Graham.

The idea was presented at the NextUp pitch competition alongside student entrepreneurs from various Mississippi colleges, universities and community colleges. The competition is designed to showcase and provide feedback to student-led startups. Selected participants were paired with a mentor to prepare for the competition. 

The two-day Mississippi Entrepreneurship Forum was held virtually and coordinated by the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement at the University of Mississippi April 13-14. 

Graham is currently enrolled in The W’s master of public health program. While she did not win the competition, she is thankful for the opportunity to be pushed beyond her comfort zone and receive feedback.

She said, “I plan to use the feedback provided by the judges to further develop my app. Through the process, I learned that it is possible for me to start a business.”

Graham is a native of Port Gibson and understands the struggles of living in a rural area with limited healthcare access. She credits her W faculty member, Dr. Irene Pintado, for the “amazing help and encouragement” to enter the competion.  

Graham was paired with mentor April Holland, business counselor at the University of Mississippi Small Business Development Center, to develop her pitch.

This NextUp Statewide Student Pitch Competition is sponsored by the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) and is being coordinated with Innovate Mississippi. The forum provides working opportunities for aspiring business owners and thriving entrepreneurs to share practical information about building their businesses.


May 3, 2021
Contact: Tyler Wheat
(662) 241-7683
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