Last week, I had the opportunity to serve as a judge at the BUILD NYC Business Plan Competition Semi-Finals. This was put together by BUILD NYC, a college preparation non-profit that "uses entrepreneurship to ignite the potential of youth from under-resourced communities and propel them to high-school, college & career success."
At this event, the students - who are only in 9th grade - presented the business plans for the products they had made. Their pitches covered everything from market research to customer personas to pricing strategy - material that most people don't even hear about until well into college.
The products that the students developed also ran a wide range. From an organic skin lotion to the swiss army knife of kitchen utensils to pots with a coating that turns red when the pot heats up, they addressed issues that they themselves dealt with and wanted to find a fix for. After each group presented, including one that was just one brave girl by herself, they responded to questions from the judges before receiving feedback. The students all had incredibly well thought out answers to all of the questions thrown their way and were very prepared for this presentation.
If you are interested in seeing the next stage of their competition on June 3rd judged by celebrities including John Starks, Ebonie Smith, Alysia Reiner and Ron Shuler, you can find out more information here.