BUILD is a four-year college-readiness program whose mission is to use entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income youth through high school to college success. By helping students develop and run their own small businesses, BUILD supplements traditional school with real-world business experiences and critical skill-building for the future. This program year, 2013 – 2014, the organization is serving over 1,200 students nationwide.
Our target students are identified as socio-economically disadvantaged and academically disengaged.
Our program uses entrepreneurship as a vehicle to teach academic, business and executive functioning skills. Entrepreneurship is a powerful hook, but college is the goal. By helping students start up and run their own small businesses, BUILD supplements traditional school with real-world professional experiences, academic support and 21st Century skill-building. By equipping students with these college and career readiness skills, we reduce high school drop-out rates and give youth hope and a promising future in college.
BUILD begins in the ninth grade as an in-school, daily credit-bearing elective taught by highly qualified credentialed teachers who receive training and ongoing support in BUILD’s experiential learning approach. Freshmen work in teams and with Business Mentors to write a business plan and pitch to potential investors.
BUILD’s 10th, 11th, and 12th grade programs take place after school at off-site BUILD Youth Business Incubators where they collaborate with their peers and mentors on their businesses, receive homework assistance from trained tutors, and receive academic advising from BUILD’s staff. Students also earn seed funding and operate their businesses. As seniors, students focus their attention on applying to college.