United Way
of Massachusetts Bay
and Merrimack Valley

May 5, 2016

5 Youth Venture businesses that could change the world

Their ideas. Their talent. Our community.

You may not think of teenagers as budding entrepreneurs, but through Youth Venture, high school students across Greater Boston are creating, leading, and implementing their own business ideas in their communities.  In the process, they are also learning real-world career skills that will benefit them in whatever career they choose.

This year, 32 Youth Venture teams pitched and received seed funding to launch their own businesses. A few of the most successful teams will be invited to re-pitch for additional funding in June at City Hall, in front of an esteemed panel of judges, including Mayor Walsh.

These 5 Youth Venture businesses are just a few examples of their talent and creative ideas. With a little support, one of them could launch the next Nike or Uber. And you could say you knew them when…

Quality Kicks 4 KidsYouth Venture Quality Kicks for Kids

This Venture team from the Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF) Mildred Ave. Community Center in Mattapan is using their talent to start a shoe and sneaker restoration business in the community center. The profits will be used to start a thrift store for kids, which also promotes community service hours. Recently, they presented this pair of custom kicks to George Foreman III at his South Boston boxing gym!

Contact Quality Kicks for Kids at the Mildred Ave Community Center to donate sneakers or get your own custom kicks refurbished!

Teens 4 All SeasonsYouth Venture Menino Center

A Venture team from the BCYF Menino Community Center in Hyde Park has created an on-demand employment program for high school aged youth. Jobs include seasonal outside work such as shoveling, raking, gardening, and mowing. They hope to expand the business by creating an “Uber-like” app for customers to easily request the services of the business.

Need an extra hand with that spring yard work? Contact Teens 4 All Seasons.

PawsitivityYouth Venture Pawsitivity

This Youth Venture team of students from several BCYF South Boston community centers created and is selling neighborhood-specific dog collars. Part of the proceeds will be donated to an elderly home to pay for pet expenses. Pawsitivity is off to a great start, selling the Southie Pride dog collars at neighborhood and local events, including the St. Patrick’s Day parade!

Calling all Southie dog owners! Order your custom collars by contacting Pawsitivity CEO Lily Joyce.

RerunzYouth Venture Rerunz

This East Boston team out of the BCYF Martin Pino Community Center opened a thrift shop business. They collect donated clothing, clean and sell it to provide neighborhood residents with an affordable place to shop. They’ve even partnered with a local laundromat to clean the clothes!

Stop by Rerunz at the Martin Pino Community Center to donate clothes and check out the shop! Find them on the Rerunz Facebook page.

Gloucester ColorsGloucester Colors Youth Venture

The Venture team from the Cape Ann YMCA Teen Leaders on the North Shore is collecting used, broken crayons from local Y programs, families, schools and community organizations. They melt the crayons and use molds to create a variety of new crayon shape and sizes, including seashells, lobsters, and lighthouses. The proceeds from selling the custom crayons will be donated for scholarships for children’s programs and initiatives.

Do you live in the North Shore? Donate old crayons or purchase one of their custom creations by contacting Rick Doucette.

Want to meet the Youth Venture teams and see some of them re-pitch for additional funding in front of the Mayor? Join us at the Youth Venture End of Year Celebration on June 9th from 5 – 7 PM at Boston City Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

To learn more about Youth Venture and how you can get involved, contact Sam Zito.