BUILD & MassChallenge Inspire Young Entrepreneurs

Students from four Boston high schools are finding the motivation to work hard in school through an entrepreneurship program offered by BUILD Greater Boston. BUILD’s most recent event, in partnership with MassChallenge, gathered a select group of entrepreneurs and business professionals to inspire student entrepreneurs from some of Boston’s lowest performing high schools.  The event serves as an exclusive opportunity to “pass the torch” of mentoring and spark innovation by offering advice to emerging young entrepreneurs.

BUILD Boston Executive Director, Ayele Shakur, addresses 75 freshmen from four Boston high schools who participated in the MassChallenge event.

“MassChallenge was an extraordinary event that provided our students with helpful feedback from entrepreneurs who are also in the process of starting their own businesses,” said Jasmine Toussaint, BUILD 9th Grade Entrepreneurship Program Manager. “The coaches helped guide students at a very vulnerable point in the development of their businesses. It truly was a meeting of entrepreneurial minds!”

The event was held on January 16, from 3-6 PM, at the MassChallenge business incubator at One Marina Park Drive in Boston, with 75 freshmen from four Boston high schools participating. Working with the students were 28 BUILD volunteer mentors and 18 MassChallenge Coaches, along with the BUILD staff.

“MassChallenge provided our students with a unique experience that would not exist unless we had dedicated and patient volunteers,” said Edson Cardoso, 9th Grade Entrepreneurship Teacher, Charlestown High School. “The MassChallenge coaches worked carefully with their teams and provided valuable feedback and support that our students both needed and appreciated.”

The partnership began in collaboration with BUILD Mentor and Mass Challenge finalist Nathan Rothstein, President of Project Repat . Together with Ryan Oliver, Site Director for BUILD, they created this innovative event for BUILD students. It was designed to be a meeting of entrepreneurial minds. Students find this program to be very rewarding as it gives them the opportunity to get feedback from entrepreneurs with real business.

“I really appreciated the wisdom the coaches demonstrated,” said Tenasia, a 9th grader at Charlestown High. “Now my team and I are really determined to improve our presentation.”

20140116_171439-1Each of the 18 student business teams met with a MassChallenge coach and with their team mentor. Coaches pitched their businesses to students so they could see how polished entrepreneurs present their businesses. Then teams pitched their businesses to the coach, and received feedback not only on their presentation, but on their product and business plans, as well. A team from each of the four schools (Another Course to College in Brighton, Charlestown High, Community Academy of Science and Health in Dorchester, and Jeremiah E. Burke High in Dorchester) was selected to present their business in front of an audience of more than 100 people.

The coaches enjoy the opportunity to give time to BUILD’s mission of improving academic outcomes for Boston high school students and to inspire young entrepreneurs.  “Being a BUILD mentor gave me the opportunity to use my passion for entrepreneurship to inspire greatness in others,” said Shonak Patel, MassChallenge Alumni. “The experience and commitment is ultimately about reshaping lives for the better, not just the students’, but my own as well.”



BUILD‘s mission is to use entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success. Founded in California in 1999, BUILD serves 1,200 students nationally. BUILD Boston was launched in 2011 and serves 200 Boston high school students. Working in schools with graduation rates as low as 40%, more than 95% of BUILD students have graduated on time and been accepted to college.

 MassChallenge is the world’s largest startup accelerator and competition.The nonprofit organization selects over 100 startup companies annually to participate in its four-month accelerator program, which provides entrepreneurs access to expert mentors, marketing and media resources, funding opportunities and free office space in Boston. Following the four-month accelerator period, MassChallenge awards $1 million in grants to the program’s top companies.



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Download a Sample of Our Curriculum

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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.