Program Overview

Success Through Youth Entrepreneurship

How do you provide underserved young people with the resources they need to succeed? At BUILD, we do it by helping our students to start their own small businesses.

BUILD believes the power of student ideas in action drives youth to reach their fullest potential in school and beyond. That’s why we help our students develop their own business ideas, write business plans, pitch to funders and launch real businesses. As they reap the rewards—from keeping their profits to gaining self-confidence—they clearly see the connection between the classroom and career success. And because we know they can and should attend college, students also receive individualized academic support and advising for their school-work and college planning. Entrepreneurship is the hook, but college is the goal.

Who We Serve: Under-Resourced Youth

BUILD tackles the soaring high school drop-out rate that has reached more than 50% in some urban schools and communities. Many students enter these high schools academically unprepared. Few find the resources to catch up. As a result, nearly 54% of drop-outs leave school their freshman year, the most critical year of high school. Unlike many other college-preparation programs, BUILD actively seeks to serve students who struggle academically when they enter high school. These students often face multiple socioeconomic risk factors and doubt the transformative power and value of education.

  • Nine out of ten BUILD students are from low-income families and from ethnic backgrounds that have been historically under-represented in higher education (Latino, African-American and Pacific Islander).
  • Eighty percent of our students are of the first generation in their family to go to college.
  • Two-thirds of our Bay Area students qualify for free or reduced lunch. In Washington, D.C., nine out of ten qualify for free and reduced lunch.

How We Operate: Planning a Business, Preparing for Life

BUILD piques student interest by focusing on business concepts during the program’s first year. Once we’ve hooked these young entrepreneurs, we add more academic components each year thereafter. A college education remains BUILD’s ultimate goal from the first day of high school.

What makes BUILD different from other youth development programs is our three-pronged approach to supporting low-income and disengaged teenagers. We provide:

  • Entrepreneurial Experience
  • Academic Intervention
  • Personal Support

This is what transforms our students from potential dropout statistics to college-bound high­-school graduates.

E1-Alumni Program
(Why it works)

Entrepreneurs 1 (E1) – Freshmen:
Planning a Business

Entrepreneurs 1 (E1) - Freshmen: Planning a Business

Entrepreneurs 2 (E2) – Sophomore:
Running a Business

Entrepreneurs 2 (E2) - Sophomore: Running a Business

Entrepreneurs 3 (E3) – Junior:
Preparing for College

Entrepreneurs 3 (E3) - Junior: Preparing for College

Learn more about mentoring with BUILD!

In the Bay Area  |  In D.C.  |  In Boston

Download the mentor application and apply for the 2014-2015 academic year.


BUILD Headquarters: 2385 Bay Road •  Redwood City, CA 94063

T: 650.688.5840    F: 650.631.4990