As the school year comes to a close and we head into summer break, we’d like to take a moment and reflect upon how proud we are of our BUILD.org teachers and youth entrepreneurs.
Earlier this June, we wrapped up the year with our 2022 BUILDFest Student Business Expo and Pitch Challenge at the Lawn on D. This event was the culmination of a year of hard work by our students, teachers, and mentors, and celebrated the transformative power of entrepreneurship.
More than 300 BUILD.org community members came to shop our student businesses and watch the pitch competition featuring the top three finalist 9th grade teams. R&R Facial Serum, CAD Candles, and Kool Keychains pitched on stage at the BCEC in front of our incredible VIP judges: Celeste Narganes (HubSpot), Jared Carver (Converse), Monique McLean (BUILD Class of 2020), and Natalia Urtubey (Eastern Bank Foundation).
Congratulations to our 40+ student businesses who sold over $6,000 in products, and Kool Keychains, a custom keychain company from Another Course to College in Hyde Park, who took first place, winning a cash prize of $2,000.
“We love our business, but we want to be more than a business. We want to be a community builder. We want people whether in schools or businesses to wear their Kool Keychains with pride,” CEO Brian shared with the audience. “But we don’t want to stop there. We want to be an inspiration to other BPS students to learn high-tech skills that can translate to high-paying jobs.”
This event was also an opportunity to recognize a partner who has consistently supported our youth entrepreneurs. We were excited to award HubSpot with our inaugural Community Investment Award. HubSpot has been a friend of BUILD.org for 8 years, committing over $1 million in support of our youth entrepreneurs and new initiatives. Their partnership has helped to provide students with the resources, mentorship, & opportunities they need to graduate high school, go to college, and launch successful careers.
Finally, we received more good news to close out the school year and are proud to announce that BUILD.org was selected as a 2022 Cummings Foundation Grant Winner! We are one of 140 nonprofits to receive a grant of $100,000 through Cummings Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Program. Our organization was chosen from a total of 580 applicants during a competitive review process.
“We are so fortunate in greater Boston to have such effective nonprofits, plus a wealth of talented, dedicated professionals and volunteers to run them,” said Cummings Foundation executive director Joyce Vyriotes. “We are indebted to them for the work they do each day to provide for basic needs, break down barriers to education and health resources, and work toward a more equitable society.”
Thank you again to the Cummings Foundation for their ongoing support of our youth entrepreneurs. Help us celebrate by watching this fun video created by our BUILDFest winners, Kool Keychains.