The BUILD Entrepreneurship Program was established in 1999 with a goal of propelling disengaged high school students academically through entrepreneurship. Build started in Silicon Valley. It’s a four year college prep program that helps high school students develop, build and run their own small businesses. The program currently serves 1,000 students and has expanded to Oakland, the San Francisco Peninsula and Washington DC. It was initially funded by Franklin “Pitch” Johnson and his wife Catherine.
Tonight at a gala dinner and award reception at the computer history museum in Mountain View California, build will honor Linked In co-founder Reid Hoffman with it’s coveted “Pitch Prize” named after Johnson. Last year’s recipient, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, will present the honor to Hoffman.
More after the break
Hoffman is receiving this award to honor him for his support of the BUILD program.
Students in the BUILD program have done all kinds of small business ventures from sushi to chocolate bars and even a record label. While a student in the BUILD program 16 year old Jahvita Rastafari started her own record label called Tru2It Records. She was able to get the record label off the ground with a $2000 investment (prize) from a business plan contest at BUILD. Today Rastafari is the Digital Engagement Specialist at BUILD.
The event tonight is BUILD’s big annual fundraiser. The events presenting sponsor is Khosla Ventures. Square, Silicon Valley Bank, Asset Management Group, PLX Technology and Albertini Group have all purchased table sponsorships. Silicon Valley tech influencers Marissa Mayer (Google), and Sean Parker (Napster, Facebook, Airtime) have also supported the event through donation and sponsorship.
“There are many college programs available, but BUILD’s use of entrepreneurship is very unique and compelling. It has a transformational impact that propels students who haven’t been given a fair shot with the skills they need to succeed academically as well as professionally,” said Jack Dorsey, Executive Chairman of Twitter and CEO of Square. BUILD is the only non-profit board Dorsey sits on.