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Phone: 650-688-5840
2385 Bay Road
Redwood City
California 94063
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Target demographics: BUILD targets disengaged, low-income high school students who teachers and counselors believe are on the cusp of dropping out. We actively seek students with multiple socio-economic risk factors. Many have GPAs below 2.0, rendering them ineligible for other college preparation programs. We operate in high school districts that serve communities with high drop-out rates in the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington DC, and Boston, MA.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 900 high school students are currently enrolled in BUILD.

Someone who had 3 hours of volunteer time could: Be a business advisor and distribute seed capital to youth entrepreneurs, or judge a youth business plan competition!

Programs: BUILD's four progressive tracks of learning are described below:

Entrepreneurs 1 (E1) - Freshman Year: Planning a Business
Ninth grade students meet with BUILD 7-10 hours per week for the entire academic year. In a rigorous, five- credit elective at eight partner public high schools and in evening mentoring sessions, students learn not only the fundamentals of business, but also the tenets of time management, goal-setting and organization, and professional communication etiquette. In teams of 3-5 members, students develop comprehensive (20-30 page) business plans. The year culminates with the BUILD Youth Business Plan Competition held at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. On the Peninsula, BUILD currently operates classes out of every school in the Sequoia Union High School District (Menlo-Atherton, Woodside, Sequoia, and Carlmont); in Oakland, BUILD is taught at Lionel Wilson College Preparatory, Oakland Technical High School, Youth Empowerment School (YES), and Oakland High School.

Entrepreneurs 2 (E2) - Sophomore Year: Running a Business
Sophomores meet in BUILD's Youth Business and Academic Incubator for 3-6 hours per week, after school, for the entire academic year. They begin to operate their small businesses while learning negotiations, business ethics, venture capital, and more. Teams are assigned a Venture Capital Advisor, who acts on BUILD?s behalf to finance the students? businesses. Individual students work with BUILD?s Academic Program Manager and academic mentors to maintain academic standards for college admissions. To remain in E2, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA.

Entrepreneurs 3 (E3) - Junior Year: Preparing for College
Juniors learn advanced topics relating to college selection and preparation including essay writing, interviewing skills, financial aid, and standardized test preparation. Last year, BUILD students improved their SAT scores by an average of 142 points. Students continue to operate their businesses, but focus more on getting into the college of their choice. To assist in the college selection process, BUILD staff members accompany students on college tours in various parts of the country. To remain in E3, students must maintain a 2.7 GPA.

Entrepreneurs 4 (E4) - Senior Year: Selecting a College
Seniors shift their focus from running their businesses to selecting and applying to college. With the help of BUILD mentors and BUILD's College Counselor, they identify stretch and safety schools, write admissions essays, prepare college applications, and package their BUILD experience into a portfolio. They continue to hone their interview and presentation skills, in anticipation of communication with college admission officers. When possible, BUILD helps to arrange interviews with local alumni. Parents/guardians receive advice and information about scholarships and financial aid resources through workshops and meetings.

As the organization grows, BUILD's "high touch" model becomes more challenging to implement, but despite this fact, the organization maintains a 2:1 student to mentor ratio throughout all four years of the program. The BUILD office now has four program sites operating , 34 salaried staff members, and an annual budget of $4.6 million. In 2010-2011, BUILD will serve 700 students, from eleven partner public high schools. The need for programmatic support is now greater than ever.

BUILD's mission is to use entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success. We believe that the power of student ideas in action drives youth to reach their fullest potential in school and beyond.
We operate on the premise that students may come to us more interested in business than in academics, but that all youth have the potential to be high academic performers with the right motivation, role modeling, and instructional strategies. Through BUILD, students learn to recognize the correlations between hard work and business success, between higher education and different life trajectories. To date, 100% of our program graduates have been accepted to college with 91% of our graduates in 2010 being accepted to four-year colleges and universities.

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I joined BUILD as a mentor for the spirit of entrepreneurship and partnership it embodies, and the promise of a dignifying future for the less privileged. At BUILD students learn valuable skills they can use in college such as project management, inter-personal communication and presentation, and ... more »
I attended my second mentor session yesterday. I was quite impressed with the teacher, the other mentors, and the kids themselves developing mature awareness, effective execution and meaningful purpose with these 9th graders. What an advantage these 9th graders would have if they have the vision ... more »
This is the second year that I am mentoring for Build, and I am extremely impressed with the professionalism and dedication of both the staff and the students. The program is well run and the trajectory from classroom to college is well thought through and directed. The students are given a lot of ... more »
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