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BUILD is a social venture that empowers youth from low-income communities to excel in the classroom, on the job, and beyond by giving them an education in entrepreneurship. By encouraging students to develop their own small businesses, BUILD extends traditional entrepreneurial education far beyond the classroom and provides students with real-world business experiences. Intensive involvement of local business and community leaders in mentoring and support of the students, and an operating youth incubator are central and distinctive components of the program.

We have created a four-year program that propels our students through high school and college. This program begins in the 9th grade at one of our 12 Bay Area partner high schools and has three primary components:

Entrepreneurship. Freshmen attend a daily in-school class at their high school, where they learn the basics of starting a business, write business plans and pitch their business concept before a panel of volunteer judges from the local business community. As sophomores and juniors, students raise venture capital to operate their own small businesses. Teams manufacture, market and sell their products to their peers and to the public at community events. The real-world application of math, writing and analytical skills motivates students who are otherwise at high risk of failing classes and dropping out of high school.

Academic and 21 st Century Skill Proficiency. BUILD transitions to an after-school program during the sophomore year. At our Youth Business Incubator, we implement a rigorous, standards-aligned curriculum that teaches 21 st Century skills essential for success in college and the workforce. We provide students with individualized tutoring, test prep, academic planning, college tours, college advising and assistance with financial planning for post-secondary education.

Personal Support. 350 Bay Area mentors dedicate 20,000 hours annually. All mentors are professionals with college degrees, and motivate and support our students to successfully launch micro-enterprises, persist through high school, and succeed in college. The lasting relationships students form with mentors and BUILD staff foster a college-going culture and help students recognize their potential.

BUILDs target student is one who is disadvantaged and disengaged. 90% of our students are of an ethnicity under-represented in higher education; 80% qualify for free and reduced price lunch and 70% are the first generation in their family to succeed in college.

Mission: Our mission is to provide real-world entrepreneurial experience that empowers youth from under-resourced communities to excel in education, lead in their communities, and succeed professionally.
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