Last night, BUILD Boston high-school entrepreneurs and staff members teamed up to exhibit at the 2nd annual MassChallenge Entrepalooza ‘14 event at District Hall. Three of BUILD’s student business owners were allocated their own booths to display and offer products for sale to attendees, while staff members shared BUILD’s mission with visitors.
A very notable attendee stopped by each of the BUILD students’ booths: Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick! Governor Patrick graciously listened to each CEO’s compelling sales pitch, making for a very memorable business experience.
“My heart was pumping,” said Mahogoney, high school junior and owner of Blind Vision. “I really wanted to make it good. But I knew I needed to be myself and I just stuck to it.” Smiling with pride and excitement, she added, “I gave him my business card!”
The event boasted 500 visitors, many of whom stopped by to check out the products and learn about BUILD Boston. Launched in 2011, BUILD Boston partners with high schools to engage their most at-risk students in mentor-led entrepreneurship programs. The organization achieves its objective of propelling students from high school to college by inciting all the confidence, motivation, and leadership that comes from building one’s own profitable business. Students pair up with high performing business leaders from the Boston area for weekly mentoring sessions, to develop business plans, products, and pitches to access funding. Through a series of competitions, students pitch their business plans to panels and venture capital partners for awards to fund their companies.
“This a showcase,” MassChallenge staffer Fhiwa Ndou said. “It’s a chance to bring together all of the organizations and resources who support entrepreneurs. It’s remarkable to see the buzz of entrepreneurship.”
MassChallenge Entrepalooza ‘14 clearly provided a very valuable learning experience for BUILD’s students. The event featured an energetic mix of exhibitors from organizations who serve and help to accelerate the success of entrepreneurs at various stages of growth.
When asked about the experience of participating in Entrepalooza ‘14, the students shared some insightful feedback. Here’s what they had to say:
What was your favorite part of Entrepalooza?
“I liked meeting a lot of new people. A lot of people offered good advice to help me sell more t-shirts.”
– Giovany, High School Junior and CEO, Inspirational Ts
What was the best piece of advice you received at tonight’s event?
“To hook up with a business in MassChallenge who’s associated with the NBA, to help sell more t-shirt designs”
“To put my products up for sale on Etsy”
– Jayva, High School Junior and CEO, One World Jewelry
What did you learn from selling your company’s products here tonight?
“I don’t usually tell people the story about why my company is called Blind Vision, but now I know I should.”
– Mahogoney, High School Junior and CEO, Blind Vision
What will be your goal for the next event?
“Bring more business cards and have my website done”
“To have my handbags here for sale, too”
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.