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Over 200 Student And Youth Entrepreneurs Experience Entrepreneurship

Press Release

On October 26th, the Merrimack Valley Sandbox held its 2012 Catalyst-Kickoff at Lawrence High School. Over 200 student and youth entrepreneurs came together to learn, experience, and have fun with entrepreneurship. The Catalyst Program, an initiative under the Merrimack Valley Sandbox, works with colleges, high schools, and community youth groups to provide connections, support, and seed grants to students to try out their entrepreneurial ideas. This is the fourth semester of the program.

The event featured a panel of student entrepreneurs talking about their experiences, group discussions where students and youth had an opportunity to talk about their entrepreneurial ideas, and a keynote speech from world-renowned entrepreneur Desh Deshpande (Founder and Chairman, Cascade Communications Corp).

“I have been working with the Catalyst Program since the spring of 2012 and I have had a great experience so far,” says Adam McClaughlin, a Mechanical Engineering student at UMass-Lowell.  “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.  Because of the Catalyst Program, Supporting Devices was able to locate and develop a pair of specialized crutches for a volunteer to help us improve our design and bring it closer to market. “

Student and youth entrepreneur ideas for this year includes an exhaust filter that removes the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide from motor-vehicles, career services to help unemployed women in Lawrence, and newly designed shoe heels that are both fashionable and comfortable.  

The Catalyst Program partners with various colleges, high schools, and community youth groups including UMass Lowell, Lawrence  High School, the United Teen Equality Center (UTEC), and the Networking for Teaching Entrepreneurship (click here for full list). Since the beginning of 2011, the Catalyst Program has funded over 600 student and youth entrepreneurs.

On November 30th, the Catalyst Program will hold a pitch contest at UMass Lowell where selected student and youth entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas for significant cash prizes.

For more information, please visit MVSandbox.org

About the Merrimack Valley Sandbox
The Merrimack Valley Sandbox started in December 2010. Our mission is to connect and strengthen the ecosystem in Lowell and Lawrence, MA around entrepreneurship and leadership. Our long term goal is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life. For more information, visit www.MVSandbox.org

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