Announces The Winning Team of the BUILDFest Bay Area Youth Pitch Challenge

Berkeley, CA – May 23, 2023 – declared the winning high school team, Hydro Planter, from Lionel Wilson Prep in Oakland, CA, as the first place winner of the 2023 BUILDFest Bay Youth Pitch Challenge. The final round of the Challenge, which is designed to empower young entrepreneurs with real-life experiences, skills and an entrepreneurial mindset in the Bay Area, saw 16 talented high school freshman and sophomore students pitch their innovative business ideas to a panel of four VIP judges at BUILDFest Bay on May 19th. The judges were: Alvina Antar, CIO at Okta; Manny Medina, CEO at Outreach; Fabrizio Mejia, Associate Vice Chancellor, UC Berkeley; Mark A. Mackey, Director of Global Technology PMO, Strategy and Digital Transformation, Nike; Katherine Vega Stultz, President and CEO, Ocelot Bio.

The four Finalist teams who participated in the competition were: Hydro Planter from Lionel Wilson Prep in Oakland; The Helpers from Golden State Prep in Oakland; Sun Sensors from Sequoia High School in Redwood City; Grippy Shield from Woodside High School in Woodside. All teams pitched their businesses live on May 19, after which the VIP judges announced that Hydro Planter captured the title of 2023 BUILDFest Bay Area Youth Pitch Challenge Champion. Hydro Planter aims to make caring for plants easier and more cost-effective for neglectful “plant parents” by providing an easy solution for plant care needs utilizing an automated watering system.
“I’m overflowing with pride at the incredible power, dynamism, and empathy demonstrated by all four of our BUILDFest finalists. In 12 years at BUILD, these are some of the strongest, most knowledgeable presentations I’ve ever seen. It’s a testament to the power of BUILD’s newly enhanced Design Challenge and the hard work of our BUILD students, their teachers, volunteers, and coaches,” said Ryan Oliver, Regional Director of California. “We want to thank all our partners, schools, families, and judges for their unwavering support. Competition was fierce, however Hydro Planter took the winning platform because of their innovation and collaboration leading them to bring their very best at just the right moment.”

The BUILDFest Bay Area Youth Pitch Competition is a platform for young entrepreneurs from schools and community-based organizations to compete in BUILD’s Design Challenge where they create entrepreneurial solutions to everyday challenges for people in their communities. Highlighting BUILD’s mission to arm youth with real world skills, the competition aims to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills in high school students, paving the way for a more prosperous future. Forty local teams entered the competition in April, after which the top four teams competed at UC Berkeley for cash prizes.


As the winner of the competition, Hydro Planter received a cash prize of $2,000, in 2nd place was Sun Sensors winning $1,000, the 3rd place winner was The Helpers winning $750, and the Philanthropy Award was given to Grippy Shield winning $500. For more information about BUILDFest Bay Area 2023 Youth Pitch Challenge, please visit


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1. iPhone, iPad, Zoom and Loom are all choices of recording tools for their video presentation 
2. Record with both students and their presentation in view
3. Record horizontally for the best view of the students and their presentation
4. Follow Presentation Diagram to the Right


- Make eye contact with the camera
- Notecards may be used as cue cards
•Pro Tip: Notecards should avoid having a full script
- Even when you are not speaking, don’t forget the camera is still recording!
•Be aware of your body language while you and your business partners are speaking
- Everyone has an opportunity to speak
- Professional dress is encouraged
- Practice makes perfect
•Practice how you will transition from each speaker
•Project your voice when you speak​

Follow positioning format Above

Download a Sample of Our Curriculum

Fill out this form to receive a free sample of our curriculum and to receive occasional email updates on how to bring BUILD to your community.