Over the past few weeks, all Freshmen BUILD students have had the fantastic opportunity to participate in IdeaStorm, an entrepreneurial program Founded at MIT Sloan by BUILD mentor Slava Menn and his peers. The sessions run weekly and are designed to bring fellow entrepreneurs together to brainstorm ways of improving business ideas. Challenge questions and elevator pitches are some of the main tactics used to encourage creativity and collaboration among participants. This past Thursday, E1 students from Charlestown High School and Jeremiah E. Burke High School joined Northeastern University’s NUBUILD Entrepreneurs Club students to participate in IdeaStorm alongside their BUILD mentors. William Tita, member of BUILD Boston’s Local Advisory Board and Professor at Northeastern University, was also able to be a part of the session.
E1 students kicked off the session by getting to know the NUBUILD students who were at the event. Each table sat and chatted while enjoying Crazy Dough’s Pizza before assembling as a group to listen to the evening’s featured guest speakers. Joining the session were entrepreneurs Ollie Haas and Jake Felser, 2012 MassChallenge finalists and co-founders of Little Bonsai. The two have worked together to create the “ReBrush,” a toothbrush with an exchangeable head, which cuts down on plastic waste going into landfills by 80%. After listening to a pitch from the duo and taking a look at prototypes, BUILD students were asked to collaborate and brainstorm ways to improve the existing product. Each table hashed out their unique ideas and came up with 30-second pitches to present to the business owners and the other students. Groups were encouraged to give positive feedback to students who spoke to the group in order to reinforce aspects of good public speaking.
Following the ReBrush brainstorm session, E1 business teams assembled in order to begin brainstorming product ideas for the enterprises which they will continue to develop over the next three years with BUILD. Product concepts and design, as well as philanthropy, were important topics of discussion which got the ball rolling for what is sure to be a fun and inspiring next few years.