The 5th Annual BUILD Business Plan Competition was held at the Omni Parker Hotel in Boston on Saturday, June 4th. More than 125 Boston high school freshmen gathered in teams to pitch their business plans to a panel of volunteer judges comprised of Boston business leaders, for the chance to win up to $1000 in cash prizes.
BUILD is a four-year program that uses entrepreneurship to ignite the potential of youth in under-resourced communities and equip them for high school, college and career success. The organization matches teams of high school students with mentors who help them develop ideas and business plans for viable, marketable products.
In the Business Plan Competition, twenty-two teams representing the five schools where BUILD offers its entrepreneurship program; Charlestown High School, Another Course to College, Community Academy of Science and Health (CASH), the Jeremiah E. Burke High School, and Dearborn STEM Academy first compete to see which five businesses would advance to the final round.
Out of the five teams that competed in the final round, the winner was Aroma Squeeze, a fragrance-infused stress ball made by seven freshmen from Community Academy of Science and Health (CASH) in Dorchester.
The Final Round judges included; Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jim Rooney; Goodwin Procter Chairman Emeritus Regina Pisa; Boston Globe Business Columnist Shirley Leung; Urban Update Host/ El Mundo Publisher Alberto Vasallo; Glasswing Managing Partner Ventures Rudina Seseri; Boston Harbor Angels President Mic Williams; Catalyst Ventures President Daryl Settles; Boston Business Journal Publisher Carolyn Jones; Holland and Knight LLP Executive Partner Steven Wright; and East Boston Savings Bank President and CEO Richard Gavegnano
BUILD Boston Board Chair, Roy Hirshland, CEO of T3 Advisors, presented the big checks to the winning teams. “I know how life-changing entrepreneurship has been in my life, so I am thrilled to see so many Boston high school students get all this experience at such an early age,” Hirshland said. “It is very exciting to be involved in changing the trajectory of young people’s lives. I am so proud of what these kids accomplished today and during the past year.”