This year’s Youth Venture cohort – 27 teams of young people from Dorchester to Mattapan, from Salem to Everett and beyond – have recently been awarded a total of $22k to bring their business ideas to life.
United Way’s Youth Venture is a civic engagement and entrepreneurship program that empowers young people to envision, create and see the impact of their own youth-led social enterprises. For weeks, they’ve been working with United Way volunteer mentors to identify business opportunities that they can develop into products or services which will improve the lives of people in their community.
At Youth Venture’s recent pitch day, teams presented their ideas, “Shark Tank” style, to a panel of potential funders. Winning teams were awarded up to $1000 to develop their ideas. This year, the judging committee awarded over $22k to teams with promising business proposals.
A few interesting ideas include a service that provides tech support and workshops for elderly people in Salem; a service that helps residents in Dorchester avoid fines for trash can violations; and healthy snack services in neighborhood community centers.
Once the prize money is awarded, teams create a budget and set to work bringing their ideas to life. They’ll meet with consultants to help them overcome challenges and obstacles, then at the end of the year celebration,Will bring them together in March and May for consulting sessions, overcome challenges. At the end of year celebration in June they will get together to showcase their ventures.