A group of 26 West End House high school students visited Harvard University in April to attend the 20th Harvard Business School (HBS) New Venture Competition, at which HBS students and alumni pitched their business and entrepreneurship ideas in hopes of winning seed funding totaling $315,000.
To prep for the event, West End House youth toured the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab) a few weeks prior, where they participated in an Entrepreneurial 101 Workshop delivered by Lovepop 3-D greeting card company cofounder and HBS alumnus John Wise. At the workshop, Wise shared his Lovepop journey—from creating idea to securing investors.
“I might want to be an entrepreneur one day,” says high school sophomore Windy. “Now I have a better idea of how to put products out into the world.”
Before the New Venture Competition commenced, our youth participated in an interactive forum at the Harvard Ed Portal that simulated the judging process for each category. Youth watched videos from last year’s competition, and ranked each venture by concept, execution, and messaging to determine who they think should win the top prize.
A total of 12 HBS teams presented before judges and audience members, who had the chance to vote for their favorite venture. The competition sparked the imagination of our youth.
“There are so many opportunities for creativity,” said high school junior Stephanie. “This competition is what I needed to really gel what it means to be a social entrepreneur.”
One day soon we may see West End House alumni presenting their idea on the same stage!