Catalyst Past Events / 2012 Catalyst Kick-Off

Over 200 Student and Youth Entrepreneurs
Kick-Off New Semester of the Catalyst Program!

One by one, college students and teens filled the venue. As everyone took their seats, excitement was building. No, this was not a Justin Bieber concert. It was even better. On October 26th, over 200 local student and youth entrepreneurs packed Lawrence High School at the 2012 Catalyst Kick-Off! This event marked the fourth semester of the program.

The Catalyst Program provide connections, support, and seed grants to students and youth to try out their entrepreneurial ideas. Since 2011, the program has funded over 600 individuals. Catalysts come from various partner high schools, colleges, and community-based organizations in Lowell and Lawrence (click here to see our partners).

To start off the event, veteran Catalysts pitched their ideas, spoke to the audience about their experience in the program, and gave their advice about being a young and upcoming entrepreneur.

Adam McClaughlin, a Catalyst from UMass Lowell, talked about how the program has helped his idea. “I have been working with the Catalyst Program since the spring of 2012 and I have had a great experience so far. With their help, not only was I able to get an idea that I had been holding in the back of mind into a prototyping phase, but I was also able to co-found Supporting Devices, a company to promote and further develop the idea.”

After the panel, the Catalysts had an opportunity to engage in group discussion to talk about their idea and what tools they needed to succeed in their project. The discussions were facilitated by our community partners.

“It was a great experience to meet other partners and youth participating in the Catalyst Program at the Kick- Off event,” says Damaris Frias-Batista, the Executive Director of Centro de Apoyo Familiar (Lawrence), and a new partner to the Catalyst Program. “The table discussions and participation of the youths during the event was of great motivation for our group of youths. It opened their minds to new ideas and gave them confidence on their projects.”

To culminate the evening, our Catalysts got a special treat hearing from world-renowned entrepreneur Desh Deshpande. Dr. Deshpande talked about his ups and downs as an entrepreneur and how one should never give up on their dream to improving their local community.

Special thanks to all of our Catalyst Partners, especially Lawrence High for allowing us to have the event at their school!

Would you like meet the Catalysts and hear their ideas!? On November 30th, the Sandbox will host the first ever Catalyst Pitch Contest where select Catalysts will have the opportunity to pitch their idea for cash prizes in front of special guest judges. Click here to attend!