In late June, BUILD NYC premiered our first ever Virtual Flash Pitch Competition and Celebration. Selected from over 40 remarkable teams, six groups pitched to a panel of esteemed judges.
The social and economic upheaval posed challenges for our students, however, we were determined to celebrate our seniors given the resources we had. During the BUILD Virtual Flash Pitch Competition that premiered on June 23, we provided the space for our students to both decompress from the stress of the current moment and to celebrate their resilience.
Our outstanding moderator Jullien Gordon guided us through the evening, which included a moment of silence for the victims of both the coronavirus pandemic and systemic racism, along with reflections from our students. Mohamed and Dulce, two remarkable members of BUILD’s first graduating class, shared their unique perspectives on our current moment. Their lived experiences grappling with systemic racism, and now the plethora of challenges associated with the coronavirus coalesced into a common sentiment. Remote learning, preparing for an uncertain fall semester and contemplating the future in this tumultuous time is challenging to say the least. Still, they remain confident that success is possible. As Mohamed so eloquently articulated, he is both “humble and hungry.”
The top six teams from E1 and E2 then had the opportunity to pitch their products and receive feedback from esteemed entrepreneurs. Special guest judges ranged from Sofia Hernandez, the TikTok’s Head of US Business Marketing to Nichol King, VP of Community Management at JP Morgan Chase & Co. Under normal circumstances these commercials presented at the competition are a culmination of months of preparation. But, we must acknowledge the new obstacles that students face. Language barriers, internet access and assorted personal circumstances demanded that students adapt. Some, like the students behind Teen Survival Kit, finalized their project with only two of their original group.
An important theme of the night was resilience. And the resilience demonstrated by students was in no small part due to the entrepreneurial mindset fostered by BUILD. All teams inspired and innovated, but, in the end, only one team from each grade level was able to win. Judges chose T.E.P from E1 and FlaskGo from E2 as the winners. We are amazed by the collective strength of our students, judges and participants!
9th Grade Judges
-Lisa Price, President and Founder of Carol’s Daughter
-Nichol King, Community Manager, VP of JPMorgan Chase
-David Wilson, Owner and Founder of Green Seed
10th Grade Judges
-Romy Newman, President and Co-Founder of Fairygodboss
-Rocky Bucano, Executive Director of the Universal Hip Hop Museum
-Sofia Hernandez, Head of US Business Marketing TikTok
A huge thank you to all of our sponsors for their generosity and continued belief in our mission: NY Knicks, Chase, Ike & Ellen Kier, Bank OZK, Barton LLP, Veracity Capital, Siegfried Group and the Meredith Family Foundation. And a warm thank you to all our participants for donating their time, interacting with our students, and sharing words of encouragement.