BUILD Brings Young, Disengaged Students into the World of Entrepreneurship

Monday Nov 5, 2012 by Ryan Oliver - Site Director, BUILD

In Boston, 1,300-1,600 students drop out of high school every year! In a country where it has become incredibly difficult to secure a job, the lack of a high school diploma and post-secondary education can be crippling--particularly for low-income students who lack the resources, skills and social capital of their more affluent peers.

BUILD is a nonprofit whose mission is to use entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success. The organization helps students to create their own businesses while still in high school, teaching them entrepreneurial skills through the help of volunteer mentors and venture capital funding. For many of them this could mean the difference between graduating high school and dropping out.

BUILD recently held its first major selling event, BUILDFest 2012 at Davio's Atrium. The event was an incredible success! It allowed students to practice their presentation skills while also bringing in hard cash. Some business teams used the opportunity to conduct market research, bringing in prototypes and collecting consumer opinions.

Following the selling expo were speeches from Jeff Glass, Managing Director at Bain Capital Ventures and a moving speech by BUILD student Raheem Furtado. Raheem is the CEO of Muzentil Media and a Junior at Jeremiah E. Burke High School. Muzentil Media sells pens that play music to inspire students to keep on track with their studies. Raheem explained to attendees how much the four-year program has motivated him to succeed in high school and beyond. “BUILD has never held me back. BUILD always pushes me forward,” Raheem said of the program.

Do you or a friend have two hours each week, November through June, to support students like Raheem in achieving their entrepreneurial and academic dreams? BUILD is looking for a few more talented professionals to mentor freshmen business teams at schools in Brighton and Dorchester! Both schools are accessible by public transportation and have parking on site.

To find out more, register to join our networking lunch on Thursday, November 8 from 12:30-2:00 PM at the Cambridge Innovation Center. If you cannot make it to the event but would like to get involved, email Ryan Oliver at roliver@build.org.

Ryan Oliver is a Site Director for BUILD Greater Boston. 

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