The Incubator has been filled with high spirits this week as teams review their performance at BUILDFest. Unpredictable, a team that designs scarves with heating units inside them, reunited to discuss the event and create a plan for next steps. The teammates briefly explained what they learned from the selling event, one member saying, “We rock! When our heads are in the game, we are all really in the game.” Unpredictable was one of a few teams which conducted prototype research at BUILDFest. Armed with a few sample scarves, their goal at the event was to discover the preferences of potential customers. Back in the Incubator, the team had hundreds of surveys which would need to be processed in order to receive their answers. Their mentor encouraged them, saying, “You guys are Unpredictable, but when you focus, you’re unstoppable.” This elicited excitement from the group, urging them to keep on track with their work.
After having some time to discuss individual team performances, the entire group of business teams collected themselves for a post-BUILDFest celebration. Two awards from the event were presented to business teams: The People’s Choice Award, voted for by guests of the event, and The Top Presenter Award, determined by BUILD staff. The People’s Choice Award was given to Attach-A-Pocket, a team that has designed a pocket that can be attached anywhere onto your clothing. The Top Presenter Award was handed to Spongies, a team with an innovative design which integrates sponges directly into dishwashing gloves.
In other news this week, during the E1 mentor session at the Community Academy of Science and Health in Dorchester, teams completed a Design Challenge. The teams in this class were asked to work together to create a product out of raw materials they were given, some of which included ping-pong balls, straws, rubber bands, tape, and metal baking pans. Every team decided to create a game, however each group handled the task differently. Some teams strategized product design on a whiteboard, while others played with the materials for inspiration. After spending an hour to create their products and finalize their pitches, each team was expected to present in front of the class. Each pitch detailed rules of the game, cost, stores where it would be sold, and the age group towards which the product was targeted. Teams were asked to judge each other through the use of a “Pitch Evaluation Form.” The amount of enthusiasm and professionalism seen from students during their pitches was impressive for 15-year olds in a classroom setting.
E1 students are also heading out on college tours to Northeastern University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology during the next few weeks. The four-year structure of BUILD’s programming allows time for students to focus not only on their businesses, but also on their schoolwork and college searches. Each student is supported during their journey to finding the right college, and BUILD urges students to consider a variety of options for higher education. At the universities, students are meeting up with college students and doing a Pitch Workshop in order to master the intricacies of the business pitch. This important entrepreneurial skill is one of the many that these students will learn over the next four years in order to become business professionals in the real world.