Ignite the potential of youth in under-resourced communities and use entrepreneurship-based, experiential learning to equip them for high school, college, and career success.
That is the inspiration behind BUILD, a non-profit founded in 1999 by Suzanne McKechnie Klahr. Since its founding, BUILD has:
- Incubated over 750 youth businesses
- Partnered successfully with over 20 schools
- Expanded services from one city to five
One of those five cities is Boston.
Wanting to do something impactful for high school students in Boston, Jeff Glass and his Bain Capital Ventures partners, Ajay Agarwal and Scott Friend decided to launch BUILD in Boston after meeting Suzanne and learning the impact BUILD programs have had on other communities around the country.
Today BUILD is in six schools in Boston, serving close to 400 students, with plans to double the number of students served by 2020. BUILD programs leverage hundreds of mentors and have helped a cohort of over 50 youth get accepted to college.
As a part of BUILD, student teams participate in BUILDFest, a Shark Tank-style pitch competition where they present their business ideas to a panel of special VIP judges. For this years’ BUILDFest, Acceleration Partners proudly sponsored Team Xxpose.
Emily Tetto, AP’s Director of Talent and Culture, helped the team with their presentation and Matt Wool, AP’s General Manager, served as a judge in the semi-final round. AP’s founder and Managing Director, Robert Glazer, also serves on the BUILD Boston board.
Four teams made it to the Final Round on Tuesday, June 6th, pitching their entrepreneurial business concepts to a panel of celebrity judges, including former Boston Governor Deval Patrick and former New England Patriot, Jerod Mayo. 500 guests representing Boston’s top business, philanthropic, and community leaders were also in attendance.
And the Winner was … Double Charge!
Double Charge walked away with $2,000 in prize money for their water bottle that also charges a smartphone, besting competitors Razzle Dazzle, Roll n’ Go and Orphan Socks. The winning founders, CEO Elvis Rodriguez and CMO D’Ahmen Holloman are ninth-graders at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Roxbury.
Before the winning team was announced, Rebecca Fracassa, director of community investment for Comcast, made a surprise announcement: Each student in the final four teams would be awarded a free laptop plus a free year of internet service.
We want to give a huge congratulatory shout-out to all the teams that competed in this year’s BUILDFest and to the big winners, Double Charge.
Acceleration Partners is honored to be part of such an incredible and inspiring event and organization.